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Bangladesh can earn $2bn more exporting non-cotton products: BGMEA chief

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Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan on Tuesday said Bangladesh can add at least US$2 billion in its export earnings annually by grabbing the growing global market of man-made fibre (MMF) textiles, reports UNB.

“There’s huge opportunity. Market is there. If we can grab the opportunity, we can add additional exports worth US$ 2 billionat least,” he told a small group of reporters at his office in the city.

The chief of the country’s apparel sector’s apex body reiterated its request to the government to provide a 10 percent cash incentive for non-cotton based garment exports for a certain period so that Bangladesh remains competitive in the global market.

Faruque said such efforts will help create employment and boost investment in the sector contributing to the overall economy of the country.

He said the demand for man-made fibre (MMF) textiles all over the world is on the rise with annual growth of 3 to 4 percent as a substitute for cotton amid changes in global fashion trends.

Currently MMF dominates global textile fibre consumption with around 75 percent non-cotton fibre (64 percent MMF) while the cotton share is only 25 percent.

The share of MMF has been steadily increasing due to the inherent limitations of growth of cotton and other natural items.

The BGMEA President said they did not ask for reduction of any tax this time but only wanted continuation of those facilities that are already in place.

He said MMF-based textile trade volume stood US$ 150 billion in 2017 while Bangladesh’s share was only 5 against Bangladesh’s competitor Vietnam’s share of 10 percent.

The BGMEA President said though there was investment in the non-cotton or MMF sector in the past, it was mainly capital investment and technology-based investment.

He said it will encourage investment and exports in the non-cotton sector if 10 percent incentive is given on export of non-cotton products.

Faruque said they did not see that much investment in the sector in the last couple of years which is required for employment generation.

McKinsey in its recent report said the ready-made garment (RMG) industry is a mainstay of this economic success story and Bangladesh is today one of the world’s largest garment exporters, with the RMG sector accounting for 84 percent of Bangladesh’s exports.

However, it said, the pandemic has stalled the sector’s progress at a crucial moment, just as global shifts in fashion sourcing threaten Bangladesh’s position in industry supply chains.

Referring to the report, the BGMEA President said over the past decade, Bangladesh’s RMG sector has made impressive progress in tackling the challenges of growth—particularly in diversifying customers and products, improving supplier and workforce performance, and strengthening compliance and sustainability.

“We’ll remain transparent,” he said and referred to the report that says Bangladesh’s RMG sector is today a frontrunner in transparency regarding factory safety and value chain responsibility.

The BGMEA President said they, within the next three months, will launch “Centre of Innovation and Efficiency.”

Bangladesh exported US$ 34.13 billion worth of RMG products in the 2018-19 fiscal while the country’s earnings from garment export in the 2019-20 fiscal declined to US$ 27.83 billion. After the third quarter of fiscal 2020-21, export earnings from the garment products stood at $23.49 billion.

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