H.E. Angela Dorothea Merkel Honorable Chancellor Germany
Me, Mostafiz Uddin, is a small apparel manufacturer from Bangladesh. If there is any favorite denim dress in your wardrove, there is ample possibility that it might be produced by loving stitches of my workers as my factory Denim Expert Limited has been working with pleasure and pride with some of the popular German brands. So, though you may not know us, me and my 2000 workers have a deep and warm connection with you built over a decade of our experience of exporting denim for the consumers of your country – Germany.
From this emotional connection, I would like to draw your kind attention to a fact related to the lives and livelihoods of our workers. Bangladesh is the 2nd largest exporter of readymade garment in the world. Germany is the 2nd largest export destination of our garments. Bangladesh exported apparel worth about USD 4.9 billion last year which is more than one seventh of the country’s total apparel export to the world. So, the wellbeing of the 4 million workers employed in Bangladesh apparel industry and their 20 million family members largely depends on German apparel retail market.
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic hit hard the entire apparel supply chain of the world; workers became the worst victims of it. Apparel entrepreneurs across the world had been suffering to cope up with the crisis and somehow keeping their noses just above water eagerly waiting to resume export to Germany in the new year of 2021. But the retail stores in Germany have been remained closed for 10 weeks since 14th December due to lockdowns freshly imposed in the country for the 2nd wave of the pandemic. We are grateful to the German buyers like Takko who reacted responsibly and ethically in the pandemic to support our workers while many big brands of some other countries failed to behave ethically. As the stores are closed, the German brands and retailers themselves are struggling hard to survive. But on their very survival and smooth business hinges upon the lives and livelihoods of millions of apparel workers in the developing countries like Bangladesh.
Therefore, I would earnestly request you to consider opening the retail stores in Germany. As many of the western countries have already opened markets and stores maintaining proper health measures, if you kindly open the German retail stores following the same that would be life-saving for 4 million apparel workers of Bangladesh, 70 percent of whom are women, in particular and millions of apparel workers across the apparel supply chain. Germany is one of the countries that contributing to the development of least developed and developing countries of the world through various initiatives, including international aids. The opening of the retail stores will be meant much more for global apparel manufacturing hubs, almost of all of whom are least developed and developing countries.
Mostafiz Uddin Managing Director Denim Expert Limited, Bangladesh