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Furniture fair begins in Dhaka

2010-03-24__b01Bangladesh aims to increase exports by diversifying its export basket and exploring new markets, in bids to reduce its dependence on apparel items.

“We will no longer rely on a limited number of items. Product and market diversification would be our top priority,??? Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday (23 March 2014).

The country has immense potential to export furniture, jute-based products and craft items due to an abundance of low cost labour and a high quality of goods, he said.

“The government will focus more on promoting such exports,??? Ahmed said at the inauguration of the three-day Bangladesh Furniture and Interior Décor Expo-2014 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s exports will rise significantly in the coming years as it is enjoying duty-free market access to most leading Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China and India, he said.

Govt looks to diversify exports with furniture

Ahmed said the commerce ministry will take necessary steps to provide cash incentives on furniture exports.

The government wants to increase exports focusing on five issues — product, market, quality, service and regional value chain — as per the sixth Five-Year Plan, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said.

“Furniture is a labour intensive industry and its domestic market is limited. So we will focus more on such exports.???

Bangladesh has potential to increase furniture exports due to its cost competitiveness, said Shubhashish Bose, vice chairman of Export Promotion Bureau.

Asian countries are now the main suppliers of furniture to the global market worth around $350 billion; the US is the key market for such products, he added.

If the country can grab at least 10 percent of the global furniture demand, the size of such exports will be $35 billion a year, Bose said.

Since production costs are rising gradually in China, the largest furniture exporting country, a vacuum will be created in furniture making, he said. “Bangladesh can fill this vacuum easily.???

Bangladesh exported furniture worth $31.41 million in fiscal 2012-13, up 15.73 percent from the previous year, according to the EPB.

KM Akhtaruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Exporters Association, stressed the need for skills development in the sector.

“The furniture industry has a severe deficiency in skilled manpower.??? The government should establish a separate institute or college for the sector, he said.

At present, local manufacturers sell furniture worth around Tk 14,000 crore a year in the domestic market, employing around 25 lakh people, he added.

The EPB is organising the fair for the third time to promote furniture and home furnishing items globally.

A total of 51 exhibitors, including 15 furniture makers, are displaying furniture, jute based home furnishing products and craft items at the show that is open to all from 10am to 8pm without any entry fee.

Bangladesh’s exports grew to $27.01 billion in fiscal 2013, up around 11 percent from the previous year, while garments account for $21.51 billion or 79.63 percent, according to the EPB.

Shipments rose around 14 percent year-on-year to $19.82 billion in July-February of the current fiscal year.

Source: Daily Star

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