Dhaka: Bangladeshi garment makers are looking to expand their trade with the Gulf countries as sales slowdown in the US and the European Union are their two main export markets.
China, the second largest supplier of clothing in the world after Bangladesh, derives more than 80% of its exports from the apparel sector.
According to commerce ministry data, the country's apparel exports totaled $42.6 billion during the July 2021-June 2022 fiscal year, of which 60% goes to the European Union and 20% to the US.
But according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, sales in these established markets are declining amid the political crisis in Europe due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
To grow our business, we also want to focus on the Gulf markets, BGMEA vice president Shahidullah Azim told Arab News. Three countries China, India and Pakistan currently control the Gulf market. We would like to participate.
Clothing exports from Bangladesh to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia currently stand at $228 million and $128 million, respectively.
Azim predicted that the South Asian country could significantly increase exports, expanding to other Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well.
He claimed that we can take $2 billion out of the GCC apparel market of $11.2 billion initially. “We are not far from the Gulf. We sell our products to the US and European markets. Delivery times will be shorter once you arrive in the Gulf.
To meet demand in the Middle East, the industry would first need to diversify its production, which was previously limited to the production of shirts and jeans.
Azim was sure that Bangladeshi producers were capable of handling the task.
We have the resources and capacity built up in our country. We are able to help, he said. “We have increased our capabilities over the past 30 years. So, whatever continues, we can supply.
According to Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka, the current market situation in the Gulf, where imports have been increasing for the past few years, could present an opportunity for Bangladesh.
“This market will grow, and Bangladesh will have opportunities to enter it, but we need to diversify on the supply side and we also need to improve our competitiveness,” he said.
They may initially serve as the primary target market and then aid the introduction of Bangladeshi goods into the region as approximately 2.5 million Bangladeshi expatriates live and work in Saudi Arabia, and another 700,000 in the United Arab Emirates. Huh.
Rahman said, “This may be a captive market for us. But given how diverse the GCC market is, Bangladesh will undoubtedly need to put in a lot of effort. They bring in a lot of clothes.