Dhaka, Feb 20 (IANS) Bangladesh has registered a 40 percent hike in its apparel exports in the last six months, with increased exports to India and new markets wrested from global leader China.
With many importers switching from China, Bangladesh has new destinations such as Japan, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some Latin American countries, The Daily Star said Sunday quoting government officials and exporters.
Readymade garments and knitwear exports are Bangladesh’s highest export earners. The total exports were $12.19 billion against the $10.27 billion target. The annual export target has been set at $18.5 billion for fiscal 2010-11.
The sector, however, is plagued by poor wages and working conditions that have frequently provoked workers to take to the streets.
With manufacturers exerting pressures on the government for more concessions, a wage increase that the government oversaw last year is yet to be fully enforced.
The exports are set to rise in coming months, as manufacturers have already bagged bigger orders than before.
“The garment exports will increase thanks to the EU’s relaxed rules of origin under the generalised system of preferences,” said Jalal Ahmed, vice-chairman of state-owned Export Promotion Bureau.
“The trend indicates that our garment export will grow even higher. Besides, we have developed quality high-end products for some new export destinations such as Japan,” Ahmed said.
The government data shows Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $5.07 billion during the July-January period of the current fiscal year, registering 43.22 percent growth compared with the same period a year ago. In the seven-month period, the country exported woven garments worth $4.38 billion, a 39.09 percent rise.
Abdullah Al-Mahmud, managing director of Mahin Group, a leading garment maker, said the higher growth of garment exports will continue in the next few months also, because the buyers are flocking to Bangladesh due to higher costs of production in China.
The higher prices of raw materials, such as cotton and yarn, are also increasing the export earnings, as the buyers are paying more to help the makers cope with the costly imports, he said.
Bangladesh needs to import most of the raw materials for its garment industry.