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Uncertainty lingers as Bangladesh Accord and government fail to reach agreement

By Weixin Zha

18 Feb 2019

Business

The future of the Bangladesh Accord remains unclear following the decision by the Bangladesh Supreme Court to postpone the hearing on the future of the organization until April 7. Until then, the country's government and the Bangladesh Accord will continue their attempts to reach an agreement.

Founded in 2013 following the Rana Plaza factory accident, The Bangladesh Accord is a legally-binding pact which aims to improve the safety of textile factories, and is currently signed by around 200 fashion companies producing clothing in Bangladesh. In May, the High Court in Bangladesh ruled that the Accord must cease its activities by 30 November 2018. The Bangladesh Accord appealed this decision, but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the appeal. Instead, the hearings have been repeatedly postponed by the court. The next hearing is now scheduled for April 7, as the Daily Star reported on Monday. Until then, the Accord may continue its inspections in Bangladesh and negotiations with the country's government.

Bangladesh Accord and government fail to agree on handover date

The Accord and government of Bangladesh have not been able to agree on a date to pass on inspection obligations, Joris Oldenziel, deputy director of the Bangladesh Accord Foundation in Amsterdam, told FashionUnited on Friday. The government and the country’s textile federation are insisting on a fixed date when the Bangladesh Accord has to hand over its mandate to the national regulator, the Remediation Coordination Cell. But the Bangladesh Accord and its supporters insist that its inspection duties shouldn't be handed over until the regulator is "ready" to do the work, Oldenziel said.

Fashion companies, non-governmental organizations and, most recently, investors, have spoken out in favor for the Bangladesh Accord to remain in the country. “While the expectation has always been that the Government would eventually assume this responsibility, it does not yet have the full capacity necessary to do this without the Accord’s help," said David Schilling, senior program director of human rights and resources at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, in a statement. The New York-based organization has sent a letter to Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last week on behalf of 190 investors with more than 3 trillion US dollars (2.65 trillion euros) in assets under management that hold shares in fashion companies with production in Bangladesh.

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