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France threatens to withhold aid to Bangladesh RMG factories

France may cancel its financial offer for garment factory remediation if Bangladesh failed to make the required progress in this regard. A review of the progress in its credit facility program undertaken for upgradation of safety standards of the country’s export-oriented readymade garment sector didn’t satisfy France.

French development agency AFD aims at assisting and supporting Bangladeshi RMG factories to upgrade their safety standards (on a priority basis) as well as their social and environmental performances.

France is concerned about the slow progress in the preparation of the credit facility program to finance safety retrofits and environmental upgrades in the Bangladeshi readymade garment sector. Bangladesh is one of the cheapest places in the world to make clothes, and its plentiful supply of inexpensive labor has made it second only to China in global apparel exports.

Accord and Alliance together have inspected roughly 2,000 factories in Bangladesh for structural, electrical, and fire safety, most of which have at least begun a process of remediation. While both accords require participating brands to pay for inspections, neither requires companies to pay for the safety improvements themselves—which could total nearly a billion dollars nationwide. Brands typically commit to maintaining their orders if factories upgrade and might even pay for some orders in advance.