H&M and Primark resume Myanmar orders for the first time since the coup


International clothing companies, including Primark and H&M, said they have resumed orders with Myanmar suppliers for the first time after the coup in February.

British and Swedish chain stores, as well as Danish bestsellers, are Freeze order Withdrawal from Southeast Asian countries due to human rights concerns and civil strife. They now say they are recovering them.

H&M said it has more than 50,000 people relying on the work of its Myanmar textile suppliers, and said it “is gradually starting to place new orders again”.

The Swedish company said: “According to our decision, we want to avoid the imminent risk of closing factories for suppliers, because this will inevitably cause thousands of garment workers to lose their jobs.”

Primark said it is committed to fulfilling existing orders from its Myanmar suppliers “no matter how long it takes them to achieve.” It added that it “recommended to place orders with our main strategic suppliers in the country”.

However, European retailer C&A has taken a different stance, telling its suppliers: “At present, we-unless we see significant progress in the country-do not place any new orders”. The company stated that the country is still producing some previously placed orders, adding that it will not punish suppliers for delaying orders.

Since the coup, Myanmar has been a chaotic place to do business, posing a moral challenge to foreign companies. TelenorNorwegian Telecom wrote off the entire US$782 million value of its Myanmar business this month, but said it has no plans to withdraw from the country.

Fashion brands are facing global scrutiny for dealing with issues such as importing cotton from China. Xinjiang The region has been the subject of widespread reports of forced labor.

In Myanmar, after the coup d’état, violence occurred frequently. This is the region where many clothing industries in Yangon depend for survival. In March, several garment factories operated by China sold products to global brands. Set fire After protesters accused Beijing of supporting military takeover.

Some union leaders and human rights organizations have urged clothing chains to stop purchasing products from Myanmar suppliers in order to increase economic pressure on the Min Aung Hlaing military government.

However, others have emphasized the risks that the industry has faced before. COVID-19 pandemic The company generates an annual export value of US$5 billion in one of Asia’s poorest countries and employs approximately 700,000 people, many of whom are female immigrant workers.

Vicky Bowman, director of the Business Center in Myanmar, said: “These brands think they have a commitment to this country. Just logging and operating will not solve anyone’s problems.”

Myanmar European Chamber of Commerce Say This week, many garment workers who fled the violence in Yangon returned to work.

However, a survey conducted by the organization showed that about a quarter of workers in the industry were unemployed. “By the end of June, the situation may deteriorate significantly.”

Unlike industries such as gems, timber, oil and gas, most of the revenues from the clothing industry will not directly benefit the country’s military power.

However, Bestseller Business conducted an independent investigation of its operations in the country to investigate the conditions of three factories in the industrial zone associated with Myanmar Economic Holdings. Myanmar Economic Holding Corporation is a military-controlled conglomerate that has been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom since the coup.

The bestseller claims to be a champion of sustainable development, and its Myanmar supplier has approximately 48,000 workers. He concluded that the three factories are not on military-owned land, nor have they violated EU sanctions. The Danish Group also stated that it “has begun to resume operations in Myanmar again.”

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