Pakistan understanding the importance of garment and textile industry to its economic growth, and the employment it create for its people which reduces poverty for millions of workers. Pakistan and the Netherlands along with other international bodies have collaborated to uphold international standards and practices in textile and garment industry.
In this regard, the first buyersâ€™ meeting was held in Pakistan on December 15-16 with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The Buyersâ€™ Meeting is an initiative supported by the Pakistani government coupled with common objective of improving productivity and compliance required under the GSP Plus status.
The aim is to create a platform for dialogue to improve their cooperation towards a sustainable growth of the sector improving competitiveness and compliance with international standards.
Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Pir Syed Sadruddin Shah Rashdi while representing the government in his key note mentioned that with the grant of the GSP Plus status to Pakistan, all the relevant government ministries and associated departments at the federal and provincial levels have come together to ensure concerted efforts for the implementation of Pakistanâ€™s national and international obligations.
He appreciated the European Union, the Netherlands government, ILO and other development partners for their commitment to provide technical assistance in improving compliance and reporting on GSP Plus status.
Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan De Vink said that the Netherlands is a free trade nation. But free trade is not free. It needs to be in compliance with labour standards, human rights and environmental standards. The labour inspectorate will have a key role to play in the implementation of the labour standards.
The Netherlands is in discussion with ILO regarding financial support to a major project to improve labour conditions in Pakistan. Strengthening the capacity of the inspectorate, the role of employers and workers in the factories, and the role of global buyers is very important in this respect.
ILO Office for Pakistan Country Director Francesco dâ€™Ovidio said that the process of dialogue between the private and public sector is framed around the principles CSR in which labour standards and social dialogue are key aspects.
The event brought together buyers, manufacturers, governments, workers, employers organizations and number of brands including GAP, Wal-Mart, Target, H&M, Adidas, Levi Strauss, Inditex, Primark, Li & Fung, El Corte Ingles, PVH, Hema, and C&A.
The step towards establishing a buyersâ€™ forum will help in making significant progress towards ensuring decent working conditions in the sector.
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