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Bangladesh goes to bat for textile industry as buyers scrap orders

Trade group teams up with rights lobby for 'battle' with European partners

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke to her Swedish counterpart, Stefan Lofven, who assured her that garment buyers would honor purchase agreements. (Nikkei collage/Akira Kodaka)

DHAKA -- With the coronavirus pandemic pummeling Bangladesh's textile industry, a two-pronged campaign is underway to salvage the country's biggest export earner by cajoling big Western clothing retailers to honor previous purchase commitments.

The U.K.'s Edinburgh Woolen Mills Group, whose key brands include Peacocks, Jaeger, Bonmarche, and Austin Reed, has canceled orders worth more than $30 million from nearly three dozen Bangladeshi factories, despite entreaties from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, BGMEA since mid-April.

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