Footwear exports rise 48pc

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Footwear exports rise 48pc
Sayeda Akter

Footwear exports marked a 48 percent rise in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Export Promotion Bureau statistics show.

The country fetched around $197 million from such exports during July-February, a sharp rise from $133 million in the same period a year ago.

During this period, leather exports increased by 34 percent and earned $176.46 million, while leather goods marked a whooping 152.6 percent rise.

Industry insides said the growth is fuelled by a rise in the prices of raw materials across the world.

China is currently failing to produce high quality shoes at competitive prices due to the WTO anti-dumping rules. So, orders from Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Canada are shifting to Bangladesh, said the footwear businessmen.

Saiful Islam, president of Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said the main reason behind the growth is a steady rise in demands for the Bangladesh-made footwear items.

“The growth is driven by a rise in demand for our footwear, after orders were shifted from China to Bangladesh.”

On the other hand, Bangladesh has mastered in producing low-cost but high-quality shoes, Islam added. “Also we can maintain a short lead time, as we have our own stocks of leather.”

He said: “These things pulled European orders mainly to India, Vietnam and Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh also offers competitive prices, which have increased the demand globally, said Islam, managing director of Picard Bangladesh Ltd.

“The cost of making leather shoes is lower in Bangladesh than that in China and India.”

Currently, the local market of leather footwear stands at around Tk 1,800 crore, of which about 45 percent is exported. The country exports around six million pairs of leather footwear a year.

The increasing prices of raw materials in the international market have made the products a pricey and fuelled the total export, said Tipu Sultan, director of Bengal Leather Complex Ltd.

He also said the demand for Bangladeshi shoes increased manifold in the last two years.

New export destinations also helped, he added. Along with the traditional markets such as Italy, Germany and Japan, local exporters are now selling products to China and Hong Kong.

sayeda@thedailystar.net

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