The U.S. government and American clothing producers have pledged to help workers in Asia recover from the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Agency for International Development and industry representatives signed a memorandum of understanding October 28, pledging to explore ways to help workers who supply U.S. clothing and footwear companies.
Over the next year, the partnership will aid the predominantly female textile workers of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, many of whom have lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“With unprecedented speed and scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on global supply chains, disrupting trade and investment, putting frontline workers at risk, and eliminating the jobs of millions of other workers, especially women,” USAID said in a statement announcing the memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The commitment is part of wide-ranging U.S. efforts to spur global economic recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. State Department has launched a strategy to bolster the global economy by restoring confidence in safe travel, transportation and international commerce.
Meanwhile, USAID has conducted a strategic review to determine how best to help governments and international partners overcome the economic and humanitarian hardship caused by the pandemic.
U.S. government and private-sector officials signed the MOU at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Hanoi. The U.S. government co-hosted the forum with Vietnam, as part of a long-standing U.S. commitment to economic growth in the region.
The companies and trade associations that signed the agreement are: Carter’s Inc., Gap, Global Brands Group, Levi Strauss and Company, Nike, Tapestry, Target, VF Corporation, Walmart, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Fashion Industry Association.