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Bangladesh terror threat still a concern for fashion industry, says report

The terrorist threat in Bangladesh should remain a major cause for brands and retailers sourcing in the country, according to a new report.

The fashion industry accounted for 80% of Bangladesh’s export sales in 2016 and is worth around $26bn (£21bn).

However, many firms are reassessing their sourcing strategies as a result of the risk of terrorist activity in Bangladesh, and are looking at other countries including Cambodia, Vietnam and El Salvador, a report by security company G4S Risk Consulting found.

In October 2016, terrorist organisation the so-called Islamic State (IS) issued a direct threat against garment buyers visiting Bangladesh. The country was already on high alert following a terrorist attack four months previously, in which 20 people, including many foreign nationals, were killed in a restaurant in central Dhaka.

The report said the increasing insecurity could have a long-term impact on Bangladesh as many industry investors view the country as a high-risk environment.

G4S Risk Consulting managing director Charlie Burbridge said: “It is important that we remain very balanced because risk and threat can be subjective. Retailers should ensure that they have carried out a full risk assessment and that tailored security provisions and thorough contingency plans are in place, to protect their staff.”

He added: “Further attacks cannot be ruled out. The garment industry is a named target for any future attacks. While a large-scale attack is less likely due to government action, there remains a significant risk in the region of sporadic and unsophisticated attacks carried out by small groups under the guise of groups like IS.”

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