Apparel export to Japan posts 140pc growth
Kazi Azizul Islam
Exports of Bangladeshi apparels to Japan saw 140 per cent growth last year as Japanese importers further increased their sourcing from Bangladesh.
Quoting a Japan ministry of finance report, officials at the Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) informed New Age that in 2009, US$ 125 million worth of apparels had been shipped from Bangladesh to Japan against a shipment worth US$ 52 million in the previous year.
Annisul Huq, co-chairman of the JBCCI pointed out that growth in Bangladesh’s apparel exports to Japan has much potential to become sustainable.
‘The Japanese are coming to source more from Bangladesh in recent times while Bangladeshi exporters are actively trying to explore new markets,’ said Huq, who is the incumbent president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Takashi Suzuki, representative in Bangladesh for the Japan External Trade Organisation said the “China factor” was playing a major role in swelling the growth of Bangladesh’s apparel exports to Japan.
Imported apparel market in Japan used to be dominated by China, but Japanese importers are now looking out for one more dependable source to reduce their reliance on China.
‘Bangladesh has much potential as cost of garment production is lower here,’ said the official of Jetro, which guides Japanese importers and investors abroad.
Industry watchers said Bangladesh’s garment shipments to Japan started to swell in the middle of last year after the Japanese retail giant Uniqlo opened a sourcing office in Dhaka, prompting many other Japanese retailers to set their sight on Bangladesh.
Suzuki said that Bangladesh is the top candidate for being the next to China which has hitherto been the major apparel supplier to Japanese importers. ‘Each day now, I find at least one enquiry about Bangladesh from the Japanese textile importers or investors.’
‘Japanese are now convinced that having decades of experience in supplying to the vast EU and US markets, Bangladesh’s apparel industry is now skilled enough to cater to customers in other regions,’ said Suzuki.
Pointing out that the Japan market is very quality consciousness than other markets, Suzuki said, ‘Japanese businessmen follow different ways of business and the Bangladeshi exporters should try to understand the Japan market.’
The report showed that Japanese importers procured $ 26.5 billion worth of apparels and accessories from overseas sources with China having the lion’s share of more than 80 per cent of shipments.
Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and India are the next significant sources for Japanese apparel importers, but the growth of apparel imports from Bangladesh has been stunning, industry analysts observed.