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Bangladesh needs a virtual marketplace to sell garments: Faruque Hassan, Past President, BGMEA


There is a need for a virtual marketplace for the garment business in Bangladesh, says Faruque Hassan, Immediate Past President, BGMEA. It could be set up either through individual companies or a common platform like the BGMEA for all, he adds. 

Hassan advises Bangladesh to seize the opportunity accorded by Amazon and Alibaba by successfully selling Bangladeshi garments through their virtual marketplaces. He recommends some minor adjustments to the existing e-commerce policy, such as permitting local companies to engage in international trade and transactions through virtual marketplaces, making amendments in customs and banking regulations to facilitate the launch of such a marketplace in Bangladesh, etc.

Establishing virtual marketplaces will reduce lead times, lower business costs, simplify international trade procedures, and decrease the number of middlemen, ultimately making the business more competitive, states SM Mannan Kochi, President, BGMEA, He aims to advocate for government amendments to the e-commerce policy, aiming to launch a digital marketplace for international garment trade.

Earlier too, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) had aimed to launch an international virtual marketplace. However, the initiative was halted due to the lack of supporting government policies.

Currently, the National Digital Commerce Policy of 2018 governs only the domestic market and lacks explicit provisions for enabling international e-commerce. As a result, local virtual marketplaces are limited to domestic trade.

In January, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and LightCastle, on behalf of the BGMEA, conducted a study titled ‘Establishing A Virtual Marketplace for Bangladeshi Apparels.’ The study indicated significant potential for homegrown digital marketplaces to generate $489 million annually by 2027 through garment sales in the US, European Union (EU), and Africa.

The study projected that by 2026, the virtual garment market in the US, EU, and Africa would be worth a combined $308 billion. It estimated that Bangladeshi digital garment markets could capture a 0.20 per cent share of the US market, 0.10 per cent of the EU market, and 0.75 per cent of the African market by 2027.



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