Earns only $510m in 7 months: Jute keeps fetching less forex


Muhid Hasan :
Merchandise exports from Bangladesh’s Jute and Jute goods sector have declined for the third consecutive year in July-January, raising significant concerns for this promising industry.

Despite being one of the few sectors with locally available raw materials, exports from this historically significant sector amounted to only $510.54 million in the first seven months of the current financial year (2023-24), marking a 6.85 percent year-on-year decrease, according to the latest data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Comparatively, during the same period in the fiscal years 2023 and 2022, the country’s jute industry fetched $548 million and $696 million, respectively.

Experts attribute the shrinking global demand, increasing domestic production costs, poor trade diplomacy, aggressive marketing by rival countries, and the anti-dumping duty imposed by India as primary reasons for the decline in jute exports.

Between July and December of FY24, earnings from the export of jute and jute goods fell by 10 percent year-on-year to $436 million, resulting in a cumulative loss of 40 percent in the sector since FY22.

Bangladesh’s main jute exports include raw jute, jute yarn and twine, sacks and bags, and jute-made products.

In December 2022, India extended the Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD) on jute products imported from Bangladesh by another five years, further impacting the sector.

EPB data also highlighted a 25.68 percent slump in raw jute exports and a nearly one-quarter reduction in jute yarn and twine exports over the same seven-month period. Exports of jute sacks and bags also decreased by 16.79 percent.

The decline in demand from carpet markets contributed to a 1.27 percent decrease in export earnings from mostly jute carpets from July to January, failing to meet the government’s strategic target by 8.64 percent.

Despite producing 282 types of jute products currently exported to 135 countries, the EPB data presents a challenging outlook as the government aims for a $2 billion export target in the next two to three years.


Helal Ahmed, COO of Janata-Sadat Jute Mills, cited multiple challenges, including consistent demand declines in Europe and other markets like Turkey.

He also mentioned severe challenges related to freight, exacerbated by the need to reroute vessels due to the Red Sea impasse.

“At present, we are facing severe challenges with regard to freight,” he said, citing that shipping operators were charging more as they had to reroute vessels in the wake of the Red Sea impasse, he added.

Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman Patwari, former Chairman of the Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association, and Abul Hossain, Chairman of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, echoed concerns over the industry’s struggles, particularly highlighting the impact of India’s anti-dumping duty.

“Jute exporters are struggling to sustain in the global market even after cutting prices, owing to the shrinking global demand” Abul Hossain, chairman of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, blamed the policy of persisting anti-dumping duty issued by the Indian government for the low export performance.

“The anti-dumping duty is a major problem for local jute exporters,” he mentioned.

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, identified the negative trends in the jute export sector as a threat to both the industry and the economy.

He emphasized the need for the government to negotiate the anti-dumping issue with India to reclaim the lost glory of Bangladesh’s jute sector.

“As anti-dumping policy is a major barrier for us as India is a big market for Bangladeshi jute, the government should try to negotiate the issue as soon as possible to reclaim the lost glory of this sector,” he added.