With the phase-out of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) to be completed by January 2005, the least developed countries such as Bangladesh are expected to face a formidable challenge. Whilst critical dependence of these countries on export of readymade garments is set to be put under severe test, Bangladesh, with three-fourth of its total export earnings and the livelihood of more than one and a half million workers directly depending on this single sector, is most likely to experience the negative implications of the phase-out. The present volume highlights these emergent concerns.
Part A of the volume is the Strategy Paper that focuses on the possible impact of the MFA phase-out and comes up with suggestions to address the emerging challenges. It is argued in the paper that the overarching approach to any strategy that aims to address these challenges must have the objective of poverty reduction at its heart. Part B is a compilation of proceedings from various CPD Dialogues which were organised to exchange information with, and have inputs from various stakeholder groups such as workers and trade union leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and NGOs as regards strategies for coping with post-MFA challenges. This publication was brought out in connection with Oxfam’s Global Campaign Make trade work for the poor.
The choice of the RMG sector, for the global campaign, is informed by the growing importance of the RMG sector for external sector performance and macroeconomic development of the country, and also in view of the formidable challenges this sector is likely to face as a result of the phase-out of the MFA by 2005 and the attendant global and domestic challenges. It was felt that Bangladesh’s RMG sector, with its highly feminised labour force, is forced to face the full onslaught of globalisation, anatomises the issues which the global campaign set forth to highlight in the first place.