Shoe shipments to USA increase by 50pc
Kazi Azizul Islam
The country’s footwear shipments to the USA increased robustly this year thanks to the growing interest of importers who have begun regarding Bangladesh as a new sourcing destination.
An official of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh told New Age that more than half a million pairs of footwear were shipped to the USA in 10 months of the current year.
Shipments in terms of volume had increased by more than 50 per cent year-on-year.
From January to October 2100, Bangladesh’s footwear shipment to USA recorded 5,03,543 pairs against 3,34,628 pairs in the same period of 2009, said the official, quoting data from the USA’s commerce department.
Shipments of shoes were recorded at 3,75,962 pairs in 2008 and at 2,90,778 pairs in 2007.
Japan and the European Union, mainly Germany, have been the major market destinations for Bangladeshi footwear exporters.
The USA, which is the single largest market destination of Bangladeshi garments, is a relatively new importer of Bangladeshi shoes.
‘US importers had earlier been sourcing sports shoes from one of two factories in Bangladesh, but for the last couple of years shipments of formal shoes have been increasing,’ said the official.
He added that shoe importers in the USA are now eying low-cost sources like Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh, and are gradually turning away from the traditional sources like China, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan.
Before 2008 Bangladesh footwear shipments to USA were rather insignificant, but when recession hit the USA’s market the importers there started looking for low-cost shoes from Bangladesh.
Until last year, Bangladesh exported footwear worth less than $10 million annually to the USA where annual footwear imports, half of which is leather shoes, amount to more that $20 billion in value.
Industry observers feel that as the USA’s shoe market is opening its doors to Bangladesh, the government and the shoe industry here need to go for aggressive marketing promotion there.
Bangladesh exported footwear worth $119 million dollars in the July-November period of the current fiscal year, and industry estimates that annual footwear exports by the end of this fiscal year will earn about $300 million.
Industry observers expect Bangladesh’s shoe exports to the US, far from negligible but still small, to grow rapidly as the recent trends indicate.
Bangladesh’s exports are expected to rise sharply next year when a mega-factory, owned by South Korea’s Youngone Corporation, which is reportedly Asia’s largest, and some relocated units of China and Taiwan go into production here. Many local footwear manufacturers are also expanding production capacity in their units and setting up new plants.