Export not affected much despite pol turmoil16 January 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan
Bangladesh's has achieved remarkable growth on clothing exports to the Eurozone and US markets during the first half of the current fiscal defying all negative things including intermittent hartals and blockades hitting hard production and shipment, official sources said. The country's apparel exports to the EU and US rose by 21.10 per cent and 13.25 per cent respectively during the July-December period of the current fiscal as against the same period of the previous fiscal, according to a data compiled by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). The data showed that Bangladesh earned $7046.61 million from apparel export to the EU markets while apparel export to the US stood at $2576.14 million during the July-December period of the current fiscal (2013-14).Bangladesh had earned $5810 million from apparel export to the EU markets while apparel export to the US stood at $2274.82 million during the July-December period of the previous fiscal (2012-13)."The country is achieving a noticeable growth in apparel exports to its traditional markets like the EU and US due mainly to competitiveness of local garments," Subashish Bose, Vice-Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) told The New Nation yesterday.He said, incidents like hartal and blockade, Tazreen fire, Rana Plaza collapse, worker unrest, the cancellation of GSP by the US government are yet to leave any impact on garment export because the global buyers are still keeping faith on Bangladeshi exporters. "The local exporters are supplying quality products at cheaper rates and ensuring on time delivery against the import orders despite repeated hartal and blockade, ultimately helping to restore buyers' confidence on Bangladeshi exporters," he noted.Subashish Bose expressed his hope that apparel export will be successfully able to achieve this year's export target taking advantage of remarkable shipment performance from traditional and non-traditional markets.The industry insiders, who earlier made pessimistic forecasts about the export growth, however, attributed the growth largely because of the resilience of the manufacturers and exporters. "Amid continued political crisis, garments exports to the Europe and USA have been so far able to maintain its growth due to certain favorable factors like aggressive entrepreneurship of garments owners, dedication of the workers and reliability of the buyers," said President of Exporters Association (EAB) Abdus Salam Murshedy.Murshedy, a leading apparel exporters of the country, said, local exporters have worked hard to maintain shipment deadlines during the hartal and blockades and many of them opted for costly air shipment to satisfy buyers taking extra financial burden. Exports were not much affected during the period as the manufacturers executed the buying orders, which were negotiated three to four months before. "But, growth could be more if there was a congenial political environment," he said, adding that frequent hartal and blockade calls by the main opposition continued to erode confidence of the buyers to place aggressive orders for the upcoming season."Resilience of the garment entrepreneurs acted as the main driver behind the export growth," said Vice-President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mohammmad Hatem.He said the industry is maintaining a double figure growth over the last two decades despite all odds, taking advantage of competitiveness over the other apparel manufacturing countries. "The impact of hartals on apparel sector is yet to be visible as the exporters are still sending previously negotiated export orders," Hatem said adding that the impact of hartals and blockades will come to the fore if political turmoil prolongs to force buyers to shift third party sources.Bangladesh, the world's second largest apparel exporter after China, has earned $11.93 billion from the export of ready-made garments (RMG) during the first half of the current fiscal. During the period, 59 per cent of apparels were shipped to the Eurozone countries, 21.59 per to the USA and rest of 20 per cent were shipped to non-traditional marketsAlthough suffering from image crisis after the GSP withdrawal from USA, Bangladesh earned $23.7 billion from exports of garments during the fiscal 2012-13, registering 11.24 per cent year-on year growth.