Despite good diplomatic relations with Gulf countries, Bangladesh is missing out on the $10 billion unexplored apparel market owing to a lack of initiatives on parts of the government and the private sector.
According to the International Trade Centre data, in 2020, the UAE sourced about $4.40 billion worth of apparel items from global markets, Saudi Arabia $3.01 billion, Kuwait $1.13 billion, Qatar $660 million, Oman $608 million and Bahrain $274 million.
Bangladesh now exports only $367.49 million worth of goods to this region, as per Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data. But, the country can supply about 5 per cent of the annual demand of the UAE, around 4 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s and less than 1 per cent of the rest.
Faruque Hassan, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) says, Bangladeshi apparel exporters have a big opportunity in the Gulf and Middle East markets that have remained untapped for a long time owing to a lack of initiatives. Exporters are planning to explore those markets in association with the commerce ministry and the foreign affairs ministry, he adds
.ShahidullahAzim, Vice-President, BGEMEA, adds, if the government takes initiatives, exporters can increase its export share to $6 billion annually. For this, the government needs to hold a single country or region-based expo to export potential and make bridges among customers and manufacturers, adds AshikurRahmanTuhin, Managing Director, TAD Group