Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is also making €9 million available to help improve the appalling conditions suffered by the country’s textile workers. The Netherlands will cofinance these efforts together with the textile sector.
‘All those involved – the textile industry, manufacturers, consumers and governments – must shoulder their responsibility now in order to break this vicious circle,’ said the Minister, stressing the synergy between aid and trade. ‘We can’t keep blaming each other.’
As co-chair of the coordination group, the Netherlands will engage in political dialogue with the Bangladeshi authorities and employer organisations on behalf of its fellow donor countries, coordinating and monitoring international efforts in this area.
In the Netherlands, Ms Ploumen is discussing the matter with the companies and organisations involved to produce a detailed joint action plan with measurable goals and a clear schedule. The sector expects to have the plan ready in June.
The Minister also wants to visit Bangladesh with a delegation of representatives from Dutch textile companies, trade unions and civil society organisations. In Brussels, Ms Ploumen will discuss the situation in Bangladesh with her fellow EU trade ministers and call on them to draw up a European action plan.
‘We cannot accept textile workers being subjected to tremendous safety risks to make jeans and T-shirts for us,’ said the Minister. ‘Getting a low price is not the be-all and end-all. And to think that when we buy a T-shirt for 10 euros only 50 cents goes to the manufacturer. The race for the lowest price must be stopped.’
Government of the Netherlands
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