Vol. 5 Num 472 Fri. September 23, 2005  

Knitwear exporters eye $1b US market
Knitwear fair begins in New York in Nov

Local entrepreneurs eye $1 billion annual knitwear export to the US from the next fiscal year as they are going to hold a three-day knitwear show in New York in November.

The fair titled 'Bangladesh Knitwear Show' will begin on November 14, 2005 at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, US.

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in association with SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility (SEDF), a multi-donor-funded facility managed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, will organise the fair.

The announcement came yesterday at a press conference in Dhaka where BKMEA and SEDF officials featured their goals in the exposition.

Addressing the press conference, BKMEA President Fazlul Haque said it is not so difficult to raise knitwear export to US to $1 billion a year.

"If we can maintain our existing export trends to the US market, we can achieve the target within one year," he said.

BKMEA chief said, "Although we are exporting less than three percent of the total demand of the US market worth $16 billion, we have a lot of chances to explore the US knitwear market. The fair will encourage local knitwear entrepreneurs to do more business with the US businesspeople."

Although US is the biggest market for knitwear products, once the market was almost unexplored as knitwear exporters showed less interest in the US market due to quota hassles, BKMEA president said.

Haque said in the fiscal year 2003-2004 Bangladesh exported woven products worth $1392 million to the US market while knitwear exports amounted to only $237 million during the same period.

He however said in the post-MFA era, knitwear export to US surged notably. In FY2004-2005, Bangladesh exported knitwear products worth $402.68 million to the US market, marking around 70.24 percent increase over the previous year.

In the first six months of the quota-free regime, knitwear export to the US market rose by 116.01 percent compared to the same period of 2004, he mentioned.

"Our knitwear exports to the US market is increasing day by day and so is our production as in every two and a half days a knitwear plant is set up in Bangladesh," BKMEA president said.

So, the fair will give a chance to the exporters to explore US market, he hoped.

BKMEA officials said Bangladeshi knitwear businesses will showcase their products including T-shirt, Polo shirt and sweater at 45 stalls in the fair.

To get a positive response from the fair, SEDF has already appointed two consultancy companies -- New York-based Global Marketing Strategies LLC and Canada-based Goss Gilroy INC, BKMEA officials said.

They said around 5,000 buyers will be invited to visit the fair. Commerce Minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury is expected to inaugurate the fair.

The fair is a part of the SEDF and BKMEA joint programme titled "Post-MFA program for the knitwear sector" to improve the competitiveness of the knitwear sector through technical assistance and export promotion in the US market, said Marlon Lezama, program manager (Business Enabling Environment) of SEDF.

Fazlul Haque (C), president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, speaks at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. PHOTO: STAR