Improving production facilities and compliance standards will boost Bangladesh’s apparel exports to $100 billion in the next 10 years, observed international clothing retailers and brands at the recent Sustainable Apparel Forum 2022 in Dhaka. Bangladesh will continue to remain the most preferred apparel sourcing destination for brands, opined buyers at the forum. Ziaur Rahman, Head-Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia, H&M explained, the maturity achieved by industry leaders in the last 40 years will enable them to invest as per buyers’ requirements.
More investments in circular fashion and product diversification
Bangladesh currently has many green factories and also complies with workplace safety and other required standards, making it eligible to achieve $100 garment exports in the next 10 years, Rahman affirmed. Emphasizing on the importance of Bangladesh market he said, H&M sources garments from around 300 Bangladesh factories. This year, it plans to source around 11 per cent of Bangladesh’s total export value. However, to boost exports, Bangladesh needs to increase investments in innovation, circular fashion, product diversification and human development.
Agreeing with him, Shafiur Rahman, Regional Operations Manager, G-Star RAW said, his company plans to increase garment sourcing from Bangladesh by 30 per cent to $90 million in the next three years. Earlier sourcing about 75 per cent knitwear items, the company recently diversified to denim, woven and outerwear products, he added.
Italian garment machinery manufacturer and supplier Tonello has been supplying garment machinery in Bangladesh for last 28 years. Alice Tonello, Director- R&D, emphasized, the garment sector in Bangladesh will continue to grow. Her company has so far supplied 1,500 textile, garment and washing machines to Bangladeshi garment factories.
Yilmaz Demir, Regional Sales Manager – Asia, Bossa, also affirmed, Bangladesh is doing well as factories have improved production facilities. His company has been selling about one million yards of denim fabrics worth £5 million in Bangladesh for the last 16 years, he added. However, raw material prices have increased post pandemic. Also, the changes introduced in Generalized System of Preferences may create problems for Bangladesh in future.
Exporters concerned about low profit margins
Appreciating Bangladesh for becoming more compliant, Rashid Iqbal, Executive Director, Naveena Export a Pakistani-based denim fabrics manufacturer said, his company exports 5 lakh meter of denim fabrics worth $1.7 million to Bangladesh a month and it is an important market for them.
Amidst shifting work orders from China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, a growing cause of concern is the low profit margins of garment exporters, opined Dolly Thay, Managing Director, Cloths ‘R’ Us, a buying house. Garment workers in Bangladesh are also affected by the way apparel sourcing takes place. Hence, the country needs new initiatives to reduce the industry’s impact on environment.