Category Archives: Textiles/Ready Made Garments/Accessories/Footwear/Sports Goods

RMG industry: a bright spot

Business Column
RMG industry: a bright spot

Workers are pictured at a garment factory in Gazipur. Photo: Amran Hossain

Kingshuk Nag

From a fledgling experiment to a $20 billion industry, the RMG sector today is the world’s second largest apparel exporter with a 4.5 percent share in global garment exports.

At the beginning of the year, the RMG industry was bestowed with European Union’s new rules meant for LDCs under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Upon enforcement of the new rules of origin (RoO), Bangladeshi RMG exporters will enjoy duty and quota free exports for 100 percent of its RMG products into the EU market although Bangladesh imports fabric from other countries.

Earlier, under the RoO, EU disallowed entry of finished RMG goods, which had raw materials imported from another country. Unlike Bangladesh, Indian and Vietnamese exporters will still have to pay duty to gain entry into the EU market that therefore, increases the competitiveness of the Bangladeshi apparels. This relaxed rule has already resulted in exports shooting up more than 40 percent in February this year to a record $1.9 billion.

The US and the EU markets have traditionally been the most favourable export destinations for Bangladeshi apparel makers. Of the close to $20 billion RMG exports, more than 75 percent of these are shipped and find their way either to the EU or the US apparel stores.

However, there are hardly any news headlines across the world today that do not mention the embattled future that confronts both these giant economies. As a result, expanding the export basket and tilting it towards other robust economies like India will generally be viewed as common sense.

Common sense prevailed this September, although at the expense of the Indian apparel makers. As the Bangladesh premier was accused head over heels at one point of time for being too pro Indian by another “Battling Begum”, it was about time that Bangladesh received the same amount of reciprocity from the Big Neighbour. In what has been termed as a “game-changer”, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dished out the biggest economic favour that our country had ever witnessed. Although one of the other major deals broke off, India went ahead and extended duty free access to 46 Bangladeshi RMG items to the gigantic Indian market.

As soon as the Indian PM made his intentions on the Indo-Bangla RMG deal public, India’s textile industry went bonkers over the decision, making the Indian press aware of the direct impact the deal would have on the lives of 35 million Indian workers. On the other hand, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) was busy preparing the layout of a congratulatory advertisement to be published in different newspapers highlighting the success of Indo-Bangladesh friendship.

At present, Bangladesh has a quota to export only 10 million garment pieces to India and it took just 6 months for the riverine country to exhaust the quota set by the Indian government. As a result of the quotas, Bangladesh’s RMG export to India is only worth $35 million compared to $20 billion in RMG exports worldwide.

India is Bangladesh’s second largest trading partner with imports from India standing at $4.5 billion and exports to India amounting to a paltry $0.5 billion. This deal was primarily focused on reducing the $4 billion deficit and the only way to neutralise the huge trade gap was to give magnanimous concessions to Bangladesh’s export sector. Any consumer goods market in India has to be huge, given its population and the Indian apparel industry is no different. The Indian clothing market stands at $30 billion annually and if Bangladesh captures 10 percent of the market, $3 billion in RMG exports would be achieved every year just from the Indian market. As a result, the deep hole in Bangladesh’s trade deficit is possibly going to be plugged by the biggest cork you can ever imagine, gifted by India’s PM.

“Men’s underwear is moving out of China, but it’s going to Bangladesh. It will not come here,” says Ajay Shah at India’s National Institute of Public Finance and Policy to Wall Street Journal (WSJ). A recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) report on minimum wages across the world states that Bangladesh has the lowest minimum wage at $58 in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

Vietnam’s minimum wage at $84 is at least 40 percent higher than Bangladesh’s minimum wage, and clearly represents a distinct cost advantage over its closest rival. India and China’s minimum wages are at least 200 percent higher than Bangladesh’s minimum wage. In a labour intensive industry where low cost is the only arsenal for survival, its not surprising to find Ajay Shah and many more economists sharing common view.

Not only labour costs but also duty free import of machinery and raw materials, along with periodic bouts of a devaluation of the taka, has made the local RMG industry globally competitive and capable of establishing Bangladesh as a hub for RMG exports.

Indian and Chinese garment companies are already shifting their manufacturing facilities to low cost destinations and foremost on their list of setting up a RMG units is Bangladesh. Indian bigwigs like Ambattur Clothing and House of Pearl have already set up operations in Bangladesh, looking to profit from the duty free access of Bangladeshi readymade garments to the Indian and EU markets.

The Multi Fibre Agreement introduced in 1974 was aimed at restricting imports from developing countries like India to developed countries by imposing quotas. However, Bangladesh was given preferential treatment and duty free access to the US and EU markets, which marked onset of the Bangladesh RMG sector for decades to come. Close to three decades later with increased access to the EU market and the Indian market, 2011 could well go down in history as the start of a new era in Bangladesh’s RMG industry.

The writer is a banker and can be reached at

Pakistani company to invests $ 22.527m in Comilla EPZ

Pakistani company to invests $ 22.527m in Comilla EPZ

DHAKA, Nov 1 (BSS) – A Pakistani company Soorty Textile (BD) Limited is going to set up a readymade garment industry in Comilla Export Processing Zone (EPZ), a press release said here today.

The company will invest about $ 22.527 million to set up their unit, which will manufacture accessories for woven garments. This factory will create employment opportunity for around 8,000 Bangladeshi nationals.

An agreement to this effect was signed between general manager (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA, AZM Azizur Rahman and managing director of Soorty textile (BD) Limited, Shahid Rashid Soorty, today.

Major General ATM Shahidul Islam, Executive Chairman, AKM Mahbubur Rahman, Member (Finance) Md. Shawkat Nabi, Secretary and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.

Textile exposition kicks off in December

Ready Made Garments
Textile exposition kicks off in December
Refayet Ullah Mirdha

The annual Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (BATEXPO)-2011 will kick off on December 8 to attract international buyers of local garment products, said an office bearer of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA).

The three-day annual event of the trade body of the garment sector will be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at the city’s Agargaon to exhibit the local and international garment products.

Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, first vice-president of BGMEA, said the local and foreign entrepreneurs will showcase garment, fabrics and machinery at least in 120 stalls.

“This is the 22nd version of such mega exposition to be participated by major global brands,” Chowdhury said. Generally, the Prime Minister inaugurates the event and leader of the opposition in the parliament attends the closing ceremony,” he said.

Like previous years, some important seminars will also be held on the sidelines of the event, where scholars from home and abroad are scheduled to speak on issues like country’s readymade garment sector and market diversification.

BGMEA has been organising the fair mainly to link the country’s garment sector with the international buyers and investors in the country.

The organisers said the event of this year has a special significance to them as a major export destination, the EU, is going through a debt crisis, for which the export of garment products might suffer.

The growth of export of garment products witnessed a slowdown during the first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year.

During this period, knitwear export grew by 18.26 percent and woven 24.82 percent compared to the same period last fiscal year. In fiscal 2010-11, Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $6.90 billion and woven $3.71 billion to the EU alone.

Apparel exporters to visit India to explore market

Apparel exporters to visit India to explore market
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

A 10-member delegation comprising top leaders of apparel trade bodies will visit India in the third week of November to hasten the process of contacts with apparel retailers and brief them a positive scenario about Bangladesh’s apparel industry.

‘We’ve planned to visit India in the third week of November to discuss with the owners of India’s big apparel chain-shops and top textile manufacturers,’ said Abdul Matlub Ahmed, president of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The IBCCI will lead the delegation consisting top leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the IBCCI president.

‘Details about the visit will be finalised soon,’ he told the news agency.

During the visit, Bangladesh apparel manufacturers will have an opportunity to talk to big textile manufactures willing to go for joint ventures in Bangladesh, said Matlub Ahmed.

It would be the first visit to India by apparel exporters after India offered duty and quota-free market access to 46 Bangladesh textile products during Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in September.

Duty and quota free market access has given Bangladesh a wider scope to consolidate its position in India’s $30 billion clothes market, said Fazlul Haq, former president of the BKMEA.

‘After the visit, we will consider organising apparel fairs in India in December for market promotion,’ said Haq, now president of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation.

He said the apparel trade bodies had a plan to organise single country apparel fair in all big cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Madras and Bangalore to give Indian retailers a clear idea about Bangladesh garment products and its quality.

‘The upcoming visit is being considered as a follow-up to Manmohan’s Bangladesh visit. We need to talk to our business counterparts in India to assess especially their import target,’ said Haq.

Bangladesh clothes, cheaper by at least 20 per cent than India, are expected to give Indian consumers some sort of relief, BGMEA executives said.

According to the India’s Clothing Manufacturing Association and the Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers Association of India, duty and quota free access of 46 Bangladesh garment products would not affect India’s textile manufacturers.

In garment exports, Bangladesh has outstripped India as Bangladesh exports 50 per cent more garments than India. Cheap labour- almost one-third of Indian labour costs, cheap power (50 per cent lower than India) and 30-40 per cent lower production costs have created a room for Bangladesh to export its garments at a comparatively lesser price in Europe and the USA.

Bangladeshi company to invest $ 9.3m in Uttara EPZ

Bangladeshi company to invest $ 9.3m in Uttara EPZ

DHAKA, Oct 26 (BSS) – M/s Section Seven International Limited, a Bangladeshi company will invest about 9.3 million US dollar in the Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ) by setting up a Garments, Embroidery and Garments Washing and related backward industry, a press release said here today.

An agreement was signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) and M/s Section Seven International Limited in the BEPZA complex here today in this connection.

AZM Azizur Rahman, General Manager (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Shahadat Musharraf Khan, Managing director of Section Seven signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.

BEPZA Executive Chairman Major General ATM Shahidul Islam, Secretary Md Shawkat Nabi, General Manager (Public Relations) Mahmud Hasan and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.

The investment is expected to create an employment opportunity for 3,316 Bangladeshi nationals.

BD now 2nd largest knitwear exporter in world after China

BD now 2nd largest knitwear exporter in world after China

Garment workers in a knitwear factory, Bangladesh. Source:

Nizam Ahmed

Bangladesh has become the world’s second largest knitwear exporter after China, replacing India from where the country imports most raw materials, mainly yarn, at a higher cost, traders said on Saturday.

“We are now the second largest exporter in the world after China,” AKM Salim Osman, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told the FE.

However, the BKMEA president could not give immediately the exact figures of Bangladesh’s present share in the world export market.

The achievement was remarkable as the industry worked hard despite erratic supply of power and labour unrest that often temporarily disrupted production, traders said.

Knitwear exports rose 46.25 per cent to $9.48 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2010-11, when the total apparel exports rose 43.35 per cent to nearly $18 billion, a data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said.

The export target for the apparel sector has been set at $20.29 billion for the current FY 2011-12 with the country’s annual aggregate export target being projected at $26.3 billion for the year against $18.5 billion in the last fiscal.

The exports surged the target by 41.5 per cent to reach $22.92 billion in 2010-11.

The overall exports of woven and knitwear already started showing an upward trend as India recently has given access for Bangladesh’s 46 garments products, traders said.

Meanwhile, the potential knitwear industry in India based on inherent strength of strong raw materials, blamed high cost of labour, power and water as the main causes for being beaten by its tiny neighbour Bangladesh, the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) said.

Stringent labour laws and disruptions in power and water supplies were the other problems being faced by the Indian knitwear manufacturers and exporters, industry sources in India said.

Bangladesh knitwear exports presently exceeded those of India in meeting the global demand for knitwear, the CITI said.

China with its annual exports worth $53.8 billion continued as the biggest knitwear exporter meeting some 33.5 per cent of the global needs, said CITI.

According to CITI, both India and Bangladesh had a share of 2.5 per cent in the global knitwear market in 2005. Bangladesh, however, enjoyed an edge over India in exports of t-shirts, pullovers, cardigans and baby garments.

Cleaner production to help save $70m in textile sector: IFC

Cleaner production to help save $70m in textile sector: IFC
Star Business Report

The country’s 1,700 textile wet-processing units will be able to save up to $70 million and 10.5 billion litres of water a year if they adopt cleaner production measures.

The disclosure came after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its partners helped 12 textile factories save $1 million and reduce water consumption by 75 million litres after they adopted a cleaner production initiative.

In association with a Dutch organisation — Solidaridad — and six leading garment buyers, IFC brought in global and regional experts to deliver hands-on knowledge and experience to local consultants.

The initiative, designed to make the country’s garment industry more sustainable and globally competitive, was introduced by SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, which is managed by IFC, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation.

Key international buyers who participated in the programme included H&M, KappAhl, Lindex, Mothercare, Levi’s and WE Fashions, said IFC yesterday.

IFC has rolled out the initiative at 12 factories so far, and preliminary results show that the implementation of clean and resource-efficient production methods yielded significant savings.

“The success of the project will allow the Bangladeshi textile sector to gain a competitive edge in the world market by showcasing its efforts towards a greener supply chain,” said Monika M Weber-Fahr, who leads IFC’s sustainable business advisory business line.

Leading European and American clothing brands that procure their merchandise from Bangladesh are also optimistic about rolling out the initiative across the country’s garment industry.

Brother manufactures machine for RMG

Brother manufactures machine for RMG
Business Desk

Brother Bangladesh – a reputed international weaving machine manufacturer– recently manufactured a high-powered, weather-friendly and power efficient machine for the RMG sector. High officials of the Brother disclosed it at a meeting in the city recently, said a press release. Among others, Raihan Uddin Khan, country manager, Brother Bangladesh, Yashimi Ito, general manager and Mroshinori Suzuki, general manager, Brother Industries in Japan were present on the occasion.

Hirdaramani Group of Sri Lanka expanding business in Bangladesh

Hirdaramani Group of Sri Lanka expanding business in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Oct 12 (BSS)- A sister concern of Hirdaramani Group of Sri Lanka is keen to expand its business at Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone in Chittagang, a BEPZA press release said here today.

This foreign owned company Kenpark Bangladesh Apparel Limited will invest 50 million US dollars to set up their unit for manufacturing garments. This company will also create employment opportunities for 10,970 Bangladeshi nationals, the release added.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Kenpark Bangladesh Apparel Limited at BEPZA Complex today.

A Z M Azizur Rahman, General Manager (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Namal Rajapakse, Chief Financial Officer of the Sri Lankan Company, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.

Major General ATM Shahidul Islam, Executive Chairman, A K M Mahbubur Rahman, Member (Finance) and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.

Apparel exporters eye $3b export to India

Apparel exporters eye $3b export to India

DHAKA, Oct 11 (BSS) – Encouraged by the duty-free access to Indian apparel market, Bangladeshi readymade garment (RMG) exporters are expecting to fetch about three billion US dollars from the Indian apparel market of US$30b.

Business leaders said local exporters have already started RMG export to India after it offered duty and quota-free market access of 46 Bangladeshi textile products during its Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s September 6-7 Dhaka visit.

“There’re no guidelines on Bangladesh’s garment export to Indian market with regard to tariff facility as it is a matter of business people,” Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of India- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), told BSS today.

On guidelines for export of duty-free garment products to India, Matlub said a target has been set to export goods valued one billion US dollars to the potential market.

“Everything is basically on track. We will achieve the target.”

Echoing the Matlub, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and exporters Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said some local manufacturers have already started exporting RMG goods to India keeping in mind the tariff treatment.

Mohiuddin said the Indian prime minister announced the duty- free market access at the request of Bangladesh and a notification was issued too soon after the announcement.

Therefore, he said, there is nothing to make guidelines on the tariff treatment.

Leading global chain stores and corporate houses have started doing business in India, he said, adding that there is a huge potential of Dhaka-Delhi trade.

Abdus Salam Murshedy, former BGMEA president, said local exporters are discussing with Indian retailers and pricing being given to customers.

“We have a lot of preparations to kick off apparel export to Indian market in a big way. I think it is the beginning and we will get new orders from India next year,” said Murshedy, also president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB)

Commerce Minister Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan said he would lead a team to India within a month or two to explore the RMG market and give retailers an overview about Bangladesh apparel industry.

Khan said the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) leaders, mainly apparel exporters, would be in the team.

He said Bangladesh’s apparel export to India is on the sharp rise as it has exported RMG goods worth 35 million US dollars to India last year.

Bangladesh’s imports from India in 2009-10 totaled 3.2 billion US dollars against its exports of just $304.63m with the trade deficit remaining nearly at $3b mark in the fiscal.

India is Bangladesh’s second most important import source after China and ranks fifth as Bangladesh’s export destination.

Investors keen on apparel sector

Investors keen on apparel sector

Women sort yarn bobbins at a spinning mill in Gazipur. Investment in the apparel sector is marking a rise despite poor infrastructure and energy supplies. Photo: Amran Hossain

Refayet Ullah Mirdha

TWO major factors — duty benefits and quick returns — make Bangladesh a lucrative investment destination for both local and foreign investors in the apparel and services sector.

Investors are pouring money into the apparel sector despite inadequate gas and power supplies and weak infrastructure, to take advantage of preferential treatment in overseas trade.

Bangladesh, being a least developed country, enjoys different trade benefits from the developed countries, like the EU and US.

New avenues of trade are opening up for Bangladesh for recent moves taken by the developed countries, like relaxation of trade rules.

It can be seen from Board of Investment (BoI) statistics that the registration of investment proposals in the two sectors has maintained top positions last fiscal year.

In the textiles and garments sector, a total of 476 projects worth $1.20 billion were registered with the BoI by local entrepreneurs in January-August of 2011. In 2010, a total of 645 projects worth $1.89 billion were registered with the investment body in the same sector.

In the case of foreign investment, BoI data shows a total of 55 projects worth $160.14 million were registered in fiscal 2010-11 in the RMG sector.

In the services sector, a total of 52 projects worth $3.43 billion were registered with the investment body by foreign investors in fiscal 2010-11, according to data from BoI.

Meanwhile, proposals for 134 projects worth $1.93 billion were seen in 2010 and 113 projects worth $1.59 billion in 2011 by local investors.

BoI officials said it can be seen broadly that proposals are coming in increased numbers in the RMG and services sectors for two reasons.

Firstly, the number of investment proposals in the services sector is increasing for quick returns. Secondly, investment in the textiles and garments sector is lucrative for the preferential duty facilities in overseas trade.

Foreign investment proposals in the textiles and garments sectors are increasing despite opposition by local investors, who believe that the country does not need foreign investment in those areas at present.

Bangladesh, one of the major players in textiles and RMG in the world, has been receiving facilities from two major markets — duty-free benefits from the EU and preferential duty from the US.

As a result, many foreign investors are recently showing interest in investing in RMG to enjoy the benefits the country gets.

The sector has particularly been witnessing a lot of investment from Japanese entrepreneurs after announcement of the “China plus one” strategy in 2008 by the Japanese government.

Previously, most Japanese entrepreneurs invested in China. But after the Japanese government wanted to diversify the investment destination beyond China, Bangladesh has become a lucrative spot.

In addition, entrepreneurs from China are also coming to Bangladesh with investment proposals — either with full ownership or in joint ventures.

Meanwhile, India is also coming to Bangladesh with its investment proposals in the textiles and garments sector to enjoy duty benefits.

Data from BoI shows that Indian garment firms have invested about $79 million in 35 factories in the country so far.

There is a rising trend in investment from India to Bangladesh as the costs of production in India are greater than here.

Industry insiders said the same is true in the case of investors in China. The costs of production in China are also high, so it is more worthwhile for them to invest in the Bangladesh RMG sector, and the proposals are also going up.

However, implementation of the projects is another story.

The projects could not start production over the last few years for a delay in gas and power connections at the sites. The unavailability of gas and power has hurt the flow of investment in the sector.

Currently, the country has 341 spinning mills, and more than 1,000 dyeing, finishing, printing and weaving factories.

Total investment in the primary textiles sector is worth Tk 30,000 crore. The country has more than 5,000 woven garment factories and 1,700 knitwear factories.

At present, majority of the FDI projects in RMG are located in the export processing zones (EPZs) as the government provides special facilities in utilities inside such special production zones.

The government has already enacted the laws for the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to attract both local and foreign investors in different sectors.

An official of a Hong Kong-based garments group in Adamjee Export Processing Zone said foreign investors are interested as they enjoy the duty-free import facility of raw materials inside the EPZs.

“All imports are duty-free inside the EPZs,” he said, requesting anonymity. Moreover, the factories built with foreign investment enjoy a tax-holiday facility, better working conditions, a regular supply of utilities and strong safety facilities inside the EPZs, he said.

Sadiq Ahmed, executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI), said FDI is badly needed in Bangladesh, in any sector.

“Definitely we need FDI in the textiles and garments sector as foreign investment ensures technology transfers, which is needed for the country,” he said.

He said Bangladesh is strong in the low-end garments segment; FDI will help upgrade production to upper levels with the inflow of modern technologies. “Overall, we need FDI at this moment for a better economy,” he added.

Batexpo ’11 to attract huge foreign buyers

Batexpo ’11 to attract huge foreign buyers

Bangladesh’s largest apparel fair Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo), scheduled to be held in December, is expected to attract huge foreign buyers, says the chief coordinator of the event on Monday, reports UNB.

“It’s a reunion for both foreign buyers and local manufacturers. It’ ll attract foreign buyers,” chief executive officer of the Well Group and chief coordinator of the Batexpo-2011 Syed Nurul Islam told the news agency.

He said the fair would help expand global market for Bangladesh’s readymade garments.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally inaugurate the mega event on December 8 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city, Islam said.

Opposition leader and BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia will attend the closing session.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is the organiser of the three-day event.

Local manufacturers of textiles, clothing and accessories, and foreign buyers will participate in the fair.

A good number of buyers from the USA, Canada, the UK and the Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries are expected to join the biggest fair of its kind in Asia and the Pacific region.

Replying to a question, Islam said, “There’ll be cultural programmes, family night and fashion show. But we’ll bring about changes in cultural events and this time it’ll purely be based on our local culture.”

He said there would be 200 stalls and 30 percent of them for foreign buyers.

Earlier, the BGMEA at its board meeting nominated Syed Nurul Islam as the chief coordinator of the fair.

Tk 400cr Japanese investment in apparel industry

Tk 400cr Japanese investment in apparel industry

Women working in a garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh. Source:

Author / Source : BSS

DHAKA, Oct 7:  A group of leading Japanese apparel makers will invest about Tk 400 crore to set up manufacturing units in garment industry in Bangladesh, the second largest destination for garment outsourcing in the world. Leaders of Asian Apparel Production Network (AAPN), a Japan- based business association of major apparel companies, have shown the interest to invest here after a high-profile AAPN delegation visited Dhaka October 3-5, said a local apparel maker.

Masanori Kojima, chairman of AAPN and Kojima Lyric Garment Industries Ltd, a leading Japanese garment maker, led the delegation that consists of fifteen Japanese companies, most of them own garments factories in China, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Kojima Group, Okuda Sewing Co Ltd, Nagoyashoji Co Ltd, Rock Co Ltd, Yumine Group, Toris Rond Co Ltd, Takama Co Ltd, Nantong Group, Namba Sangyo Co Ltd, Thermofix group are among the companies of the delegation members.

Talking to BSS Thursday, Imrul Anwar Liton, managing director of Kojima Lyric Industries Ltd, a Dhaka-based Japan-Bangladesh joint venture, said most of the delegation members were apparel manufacturers-cum importers.

“The AAPN want to launch its next garment project in Bangladesh. I hope there will be a big Japanese investment of Tk 300-400 crore by the next year,” he added.

This investment would be least-financing of Japan fund and create employment opportunities more than for 10,000 people, Liton said, adding that they visited Dhaka to scoop out possibilities of investment in Bangladesh’s multi billion dollar garment industry.

“If Japanese companies invest in Bangladesh, the higher technology of the Japanese companies will help Bangladesh move to high-end apparel items and earn more forex,” he said.

“Bangladesh is one of the next destination countries when Japanese companies are thinking about China plus policy for expansion of their business”, he said quoting Masanori as saying.

The delegation visited factories of Bangladesh including Kojima Lyric in Gazipur, the first ladies suit manufacturing company in Bangladesh and also a Japan-Bangladesh venture.During the visit, the AAPN delegation met Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh and chief of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Pak towel maker to set-up Tk 300m industry in CEPZ

Pak towel maker to set-up Tk 300m industry in CEPZ
Author / Source : MASHIUR RAHAMAN

DHAKA, OCT 7: A renowned Pakistan based towel manufacturer is going to set-up a towel factory in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) with initial investment  of Tk300 million, top company official told The Independent. Pakistan traditionally has a rich heritage of high-quality towel manufacturing and enjoys high demands in Western markets, Sumara Haleem Puri, proprietor of the First Women Fashion of Pakistan said.

“Our investment in CEPZ will not only pore in foreign invest in Bangladesh but also expertise to enrich the thriving local garments industry,” he added.

Mr Puri, in collaboration of his local partner, has already acquired land to set-up the towel factory. Construction works of the industry will began in early 2012 and expected to go for commentarial production by the end of the same year.

“We have monthly manufacture plan of 800 tons. Entire products of this establishment will be exported to European markets,” Mr Puri said.

Pakistan’s once-thriving textiles industry now faces hard time. In a country plagued by political violence and longstanding energy crisis, investment drain-out has forced the textile business to move to other countries, most notably, Bangladesh.

Industry experts said conditions in Bangladesh are favourable and this is luring Pakistani businessmen to relocate or expand their business to Dhaka. They cited certain advantages for Pakistani businessmen in Bangladesh, such as having a common history and culture, more investor-friendly policies, cheap labour and tax-free access to 37 countries, including the European Union, Canada and Australia.

“It is true that Bangladeshi bureaucracy is sometimes ‘old-style’ that takes time in doing things but when you are bringing foreign investment into the country, they are the most cooperative,” he claims. As per primary business plan, the new towel factory will employ about 300 low-skilled workers who will eventually be trained up by Pakistani expert machine operators, he said.

“Bangladeshi workers are quick learner and they will be trained up as experts to handle the entire production activities,” he added.

Classified as a least-developed country, Bangladesh enjoys duty-free export facility to 27 European Union countries, and 10 other developed countries, including Japan, Canada and Australia, under bilateral agreements. Pakistan, on the other hand, faces higher tariffs in the EU and US markets, putting its exporters at a disadvantage.

Easy availability of cheap labour has enabled Bangladesh to join the global supply chain for low-end textiles and clothing. It has also helped the country to manufacture garments for international brands, such as JC Penney, Wal-Mart, H&M, Kohl’s, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour.

“Apart from the worsening law-and-order situation in Pakistan, labour cost is much higher in my country along with chronic power crisis,” Mr Puri said.

Last year, Bangladesh nearly doubled its minimum monthly wage to Tk 3,000 for workers in the garments industry. However, the pay is still low compared to China, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. At a government-set Rs 7,000 (USD 80.55), Pakistan’s minimum monthly wage is much higher than that in Bangladesh. While Bangladesh has its own power problems, facing up to 2,000 MW of shortage, it is taking firm steps to address the energy crisis.

The government is aiming to triple power generation to 15,000 MW over the next five years, and plans to build 89 power plants on a fast-track basis.

“On top of everything, it is the business friendly attitude of Bangladesh government that makes investment in to this country relatively safer as compare to mine,” he said adding that he is looking forward for a prosperous business growth in this country. “Depending on investment outcomes, we will consider further investment in Bangladesh in near future,” Mr Puri added.

B’desh RMG may get duty-free entry to US market

B’desh RMG may get duty-free entry to US market
Businesses hopeful

Nizam Ahmed

Bangladesh is likely to get duty free access for its ready-made garments (RMG) to the US and attract more investment from the world’s largest economy, diplomatic and business circles said on Friday.

The confidence about this has been emboldened following a recent interaction between the business leaders of the two countries in New York, traders said.

“The US trade leaders have assured us to take the issue with the office of US Trade Representative,” AK Azad, president of the Federation of the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) told the FE.

“A bill is scheduled to be placed soon in the senate for passage,” said Mr Azad who led a 20-member trade delegation as part of the entourage of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who visited New York to attend the recent United Nations General Assembly.

US imports around 40 per cent of Bangladesh’s annual garments exports worth $18 billion, while more than 50 per cent are imported by European Union (EU) and the rest by Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

Bangladesh garments enjoy duty free access to the EU — and India which recently announced such facility.

Some leading US investors and entrepreneurs including Mark Jaffe, president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Greater NY Chamber of Commerce was present at the meeting, traders said.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who attended the meeting as the chief guest urged US entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh manly in energy sector, a recent statement of the foreign ministry said in its website.

Dr Dipu Moni also touched on the Bangladesh-USA business relations terming the US as the largest trading partner both in terms of trade and commerce as well as investment, a media release from the US-based Action Products International, Inc. (pinksheets:APII).

US investment in Bangladesh is increasing gradually in energy sector, but exact cumulative figure was not available immediately, an official of the Board of Investment (BoI) said.

Bangladesh drew $913.32 million as foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2010 against $700.16 million in the previous year.

“The US traders also have shown interest in making investment, mainly in computer and information technology and have deeply considered investment in energy sector,” said Morshed Murad Ibrahim, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), a member of the delegation.

The US-based Action Products International, Inc. (pinksheets:APII) said on Wednesday that it was awaiting a positive response from the Bangladesh authorities to expand cloud computing in the South Asian country.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).

It provides computation, software, data access, and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services.

Parallels to this concept can be drawn with the electricity grid, wherein end-users consume power without needing to understand the component devices or infrastructure required to provide the service

“Bangladesh is emerging as a technology and information hotspot, and cloud services are featured in the government’s development strategy for the country because in part, cloud services are low-cost, scalable, and permanently state-of-the-art,” the firm said in its website.

APII forwarded its proposal for expansion of its cloud computing service to Bangladesh at the meeting at the New York Chamber.

APII discussed products and services and outlined the revenues and potential for job creation within both countries.

Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world and can benefit greatly by utilising cloud Internet services such as those provided by APII.