Vol. 5 Num 318 Tue. April 19, 2005  

Address compliance issues to survive in global market
Speakers tell seminar on knitwear

In order to match the global standard, speakers at a seminar yesterday underscored the need for meeting social and environment compliance issues in the export-oriented knitwear sector.

Using mostly locally produced raw materials, knitwear sector is playing a significant role in increasing the country's export growth and earnings in the post multi-fibre arrangement period, they observed.

The national seminar on 'Apparel Sourcing Practices and the Way Forward for the Bangladesh Knitwear Sector' organised by South Asia Enterprise Development Facility (SEDF) in collaboration with Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) was held at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

Speaking at the seminar, Commerce Minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury said it is very encouraging that the knitwear sector is performing very well marking a tremendous 38 percent growth in the first eight months of the current fiscal.

"Many knitwear factories have also been set up in the recent months but we should not be complacent about the present scenario. There are many areas where the sector can still improve a lot," he added.

Due to low productivity, Bangladeshi products are less competitive compared to China, India and even Sri Lanka though Bangladesh is known as a country of cheap labour cost, he said.

"We have to take all possible steps to increase our competitiveness in the global market," Altaf said urging the entrepreneurs to develop human resources in order to knock at buyers' doors and understand them.

Many experts and international agencies anticipated a dismal picture of apparel sub-sector few months back but knitwear exporters are proving all of those wrong with hard work and commitment, said Fazlul Hoque, BKMEA president.

The knitwear sector now hopes to cross the export earning of US$3 billion by June 2005, he added.

Knitwear exports have shown growth in the US market in the first six months of 2004-2005 but the effort is sporadic and not an integrated one, Hoque said.

That's why to explore the US market, BKMEA in collaboration with SEDF is planning to organise a single country knitwear fair in the US in September this year, he mentioned.

Deepak Adhikary, program manager of SEDF, and global apparel market experts Brian Webber and Charles Dagher presented keynote papers on post-MFA program for knitwear sector, apparel sourcing practice and buyer requirements in the seminar.

Anil Sinha, general manager of SEDF, Mir Shahabuddin Mohammad, vice-chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), and Marlon Lezama, program manager of SEDF, also spoke at the seminar.