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Bangladeshi Footwear export gains momentum

Lace up snake brogue 2 (1)Bangladeshi footwear is getting a brand status in the global market and the export may cross $ 1.0 billion mark within next few years, sector insiders have said.

The optimism has come as the export growth is showing a positive trend with new export markets being tapped almost every year alongside the existing ones.

According to the data available from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), in the fiscal year (FY) 2011-12 Bangladesh exported footwear worth $ 335.51 million while the export grew by 25 per cent to $ 419.32 million in the last FY 2012-13.

In the first seven months of July-January of the current fiscal the footwear export already fetched $ 349 million.

An office bearer of the Bangladesh Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association said the export performance was satisfactory so far and it was likely to cross the figure of the last fiscal by June next.

He said the exporters were gradually overcoming the constraints relating to marketing, designing and finishing.

The association leader said the big local companies were working with some foreign firms to upgrade technology and improve designs.

An exporter told the FE: “Apart from retaining the current share of the export market, we are trying to accelerate the growth.”

He said it was urgent to go for research on marketing and product diversification to keep up with the changes in trends in the export destinations.

He said a particular design or fashion was becoming old within few days and the exporters needed to adapt themselves to the changing trend.

An exporter said: “We are still lagging behind in marketing the local brands abroad.”

He said to be competitive in export markets a good number of companies formed joint ventures with their foreign partners in Taiwan, China, Japan, Italy and other countries.

Under the joint ventures the local companies are sharing the know-how of the foreign companies in product innovation and diversification of designs and fashions.

To be competitive in the international markets and save investments, a few leading manufacturers developed their products to leave them at par with the global standard.

And the brands were being exported to the European, Asian, North American, African and some South American countries, sources said.

As per statistics available from the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), fresh local and foreign investments were taking place in the sector.

Footwear manufacturing is a capital-intensive sector, so, for developing products a large amount of investment is needed, according to a sector insider.

In view of the market trend, another exporter said it was not possible to stay in the race without using new technology in finishing and designing.

He said it was a good opportunity that they could source raw materials locally and the labour was still cheaper in the country than elsewhere.

A BEPZA source said local workers were becoming efficient in manufacturing footwear products of the global standard.

Report: Shamsul Huda
Source: Financial Express

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