When we speak of diplomacy, political issues and conflicts usually come to mind. Economic issues, however, are equally important. Some would even argue that they are even of greater importance. Why? Because most of the bilateral and multilateral cooperation revolves around generating new business, facilitating established business and enhancing trade ties — all key essential elements for the sustenance of a nation.

Since the readymade garment sector of Bangladesh is a significant export-oriented industry, diplomacy has an important and direct bearing on the sector’s sustenance and overall growth. With competition growing worldwide, the role of a diplomatic service exclusively for the RMG industry has never been more urgent than it is today because of the imminent graduation of Bangladesh from the least-developed country (LDC) category to the grouping of the developing countries.

Ironically, the economic success of Bangladesh could become an enemy of sorts to itself because it will no longer be the underdog expecting or receiving special considerations. The RMG industry, in particular, has grown to become a world leader and requires a fresh approach to building on the success achieved.

Astute, planned and relentless diplomacy will go a long way in helping us retain and extend market access facilities in the post-LDC era. Besides, economic diplomacy is imperative for exploring new markets and new avenues for profitable growth.

With this understanding and vision in mind, the present board of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has launched its own brand of economic diplomacy entitled ‘apparel diplomacy’ to meet the challenges ahead.

The aim of apparel diplomacy is to leverage the power of diplomacy for the betterment of the industry and benefit the millions of Bangladeshis employed in the sector.

As part of the apparel diplomacy, we are striving tirelessly with our own professional team as well as through our missions abroad. With the support of our government, the BGMEA is making concerted efforts so that the RMG sector can achieve greater success. This will increase the industry’s profits handsomely and bring greater prosperity to the nation.