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Bangladesh: BGMEA Says Import Export Movement Nearly Normal Despite Unrest

Bangladesh has been battling bad press over its current transportation blockade and recent five-day strike, but according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), goods are moving in and out of the country just fine.

“The blockade was affecting textile business in various ways especially the supply chain was disrupted to some extent,” said Shahidullah Azim, BGMEA vice president. “We are more concerned about the image and opportunity crisis but slowly and gradually, situation is coming to a normal phase.”

For just over two months, Bangladesh’s two major political parties have been locked in conflict over the ruling Awami League’s win in the January 2014 election, which the opposing Bangladesh National Party (BNP) claims was rigged. Since this January, a BNP instated — and indefinite — transportation blockade has hampered the movement of goods across the nation.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh’s Financial Express reported stray incidents of violence amid the turmoil, like firebombing vehicles —  some of which were transporting apparel and textile products — that subsequently burned bystanders. Buyers balked at the continuing unrest and some said they would reconsider placing orders in the country.

“At present buyers are a bit cautious though strike is not hampering the general movement of mass people and transportation of goods,” Azim said. “The export import activities are going well. Initially, there was some trouble in transportation and shipping but now situation is improving day by day.”

Stakeholders in the country have appealed to the Bangladesh government asking why its lack of action in imposing restrictions on the blockades is not illegal or unconstitutional, but no official action has since been taken to cease the disruptions.

“From the business community, we have urged the political parties to come to a solution which will ensure a better businesses environment in the country,” Azim said. “We believe that it will be solved very soon as things are getting normal and transportation of goods is not that hampered right now. People are living usual life.”