Bangladesh: The next destination for denim clothing
The country is moving forward, the record in GDP growth is borne by its evidence. World Bank, Asian Development Bank and IMF have predicted the rate of GDP growth over time. The World Bank said in the latest forecast that the growth rate could be 6.8 per cent. According to the Asian Development Bank, it can be 6.9 per cent. The IMF also gave similar predictions.
Growth in GDP to 7.44 per cent in terms of potential and efficiency is undoubtedly inspiring. It is not impossible to take the rate of GDP growth in two ways through our firm conviction, more enthusiasm, initiative and effort. For this, public-private investment, export earning, remittance and revenue income will be increased. More realistically we have to depend largely on export earning-that is RMGs export.
It is quite a positive message for us that foreign buyers are looking at the great potential of Bangladeshi denim clothing. Currently the best quality denim is being made in Bangladesh. In view of this, Bangladesh is in a convenient position in competitive trade. There is a strong possibility of selling denim clothes of Bangladesh in the world market.
On the other hand, Denim exports are not getting 'worth getting', according to local traders. They say, Bangladesh is now one of the world's top denim manufacturers. Local manufacturers of denim want to gain the confidence of exporters in denim clothes and garments which are made in Bangladesh.
Previously the foreign buyers came to Bangladesh to buy denim at a lower price. So to say at the same denim we get two-three times less than Pakistan, India and Turkey. Currently many factories have made good quality denim pants with advanced fabrics. We need to send message to buyers -- not just 'chip' (cheaper) denim dresses are made here, Bangladesh is now one of the world's top denim manufacturer.
Few years ago Bangladeshi denim values were somewhat lower, but at present. We have roughly 26 denim factories in our country. But for raw materials we have to rely on China, Thailand and India. In front of international buyers, Bangladeshi and other entrepreneurs are getting opportunity to display their denim products.
In the current year, there has been scepticism of achieving USD 37 billion income targets for various reasons, including the decline in the value of the euro, the price of the garment industry, and many reasons. But at the end of the year, export earnings are expected to be USD 36 billion, but not USD 37 billion.
Rana Plaza disaster that drew the global concerns about the safety for workers and their working conditions within Bangladeshi factories involved with the apparel trade. It may be recalled that the former US President Obama suspended GSP trade benefits for Bangladesh following this incident. Dr KAS Murshid, BIDS Director General, in this context has however said that double standards are being followed and that Bangladesh has been unduly singled out on the labour standard issue while nothing has been done in this regard with other countries like Nepal, India, Vietnam, China and Cambodia.
If we noticed the past four years the entrepreneurs worked for the development of the garment industry, but the buyers did not keep the word. The price of the products must be increase. But now they are not bothered to increase the price of the products, rather they are also bargaining on price reduction.
It seems that the price of the product is all about the buyers. Everything else is secondary to them. The factory has been renovated. Green technology has become a big investment. But the buyers did not commit to increase rates. So, essentially the long-term relationship between entrepreneurs, buyers and brands is required for sustainable development of the garment sector.
The Accord, a coalition of buyers of the European Union countries, expressed satisfaction over the progress of the renovation of garment factories in Bangladesh. However, the alliance seems to have not yet fully solved the security problem. There is more work to do for this. At the same time, the company announced its financial support for the reform of the garment sector, from now on.
The cost of clothing is decreasing day by day. Buyers talk more about qualifications rather than quality clothing. It is challenging for durable garments sector. We have 67 environmental friendly industries in our country. Roughly 220 factories are in the process of introducing LEED green. For this, no doubt we have to spend big money.
We can hope in this regard because government has already taken some initiatives and steps to increase exports and remittance. If necessary, more initiatives and steps will have to be taken in this regard. We are optimistic, if the government is alert and aware, sincerely zealous and active, it will not be impossible to deal with the internal and external challenges of the Denim (RMG) export successfully.
For the sustainable development of the garment sector, we have to go for production of high quality products from low-cost products. Recently, production of high quality denim cloth is evidence of that. To sustain the production of this denim, modern technology, skilled human resources, education and further research are required. Whatever we say, the sustainable development of this sector without fair price is beyond impossible.
Rajon Shahabuddin is Deputy Secretary, BKMEA