Most of the apparel exports from Bangladesh depend upon five limited products and lack of new initiatives is putting a question mark on the country’s export competitiveness in the global market. Industry experts are sceptical about the sustainability of exports in future.
Currently, more than 78 per cent of the sector's earnings come from shipment of only five items namely shirt, trouser, jacket, T-shirt and sweater though Bangladesh exports more than 30 types of products. The country reported $25.49 billion from knit and woven exports in fiscal year 2014-15 while only five items contributed $20.04 billion, according to data of the Export Promotion Bureau and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The total export earnings stood at $31.198 billion in last fiscal while garment accounted for 81.71 per cent of the total, according to data. Overseas sales of local garment products are also mainly limited to four major destinations-the EU, US, Canada and Japan.
Industry experts are of the opinion that the sector’s dependency over cotton-based products and lack of effective efforts for product diversification and new market exploration as well as shortage of specialised skilled workforce, poor infrastructure and entrepreneurs' unwillingness to take risk are some of the factors responsible for the limited product exports.
The experts seek government's policy support to change the entire export scenario, including opening of new missions, branding of local products, and cash support for potential sectors.