WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. State Department warns travelers of potential security threats in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh known for its thriving textile and garment industries. The threat stems from a terrorist attack that took place on July 1, 2016 at a restaurant in the capital which left more than 20 people dead.
An update to the department’s website on Jan. 5 says that a statement from the so-called Islamic State threatens to target “expats, tourists, and garment buyers,” in addition to government employees. As a preventative measure, the department recommends U.S. citizens remain vigilant and attentive to local security developments.
Ongoing security issues in the area pose difficulties for both the private and public sector, including international garment buyers. A previous attack in 2015 led the country to tighten security for buyers working in the region and saw many buyers cancel or delay travel plans. The city also hosts an international direct-to-garment equipment exhibition in Feb. 2017, which has raised concerns for some in the industry.
“I don’t think it means everyone will flee Bangladesh,” states Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association in a recent interview with Women’s Wear Daily. “On the other hand, I cannot ever recall that our industry was specifically targeted by terrorists.”
The country relies heavily on finished textiles, or Ready-Made Garments (RMG) as part of its economy, predominately shipped to the U.S. and the European Union. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association estimates RMG's account for more than 82 percent of the country's exports.