A local ceramics manufacturer has entered Argentina with exports after shoring up its foothold in Europe.
FARR Ceramics Ltd has recently exported ceramics worth Tk 1.6 crore to the South American country. The company has also bagged Tk 5 crore orders from the country and will ship by March.
“We are exploring new markets on our own. We don't get any government support,” said Iftakher Uddin Farhad, chairman and managing director of the company.
He claimed FARR Ceramics is the first to enter Argentina.
Farhad said: “Some government supports can increase the country's export figure to $200 million in a few years from the existing level of $30-$35 million.”
Ceramics exporters face problems in getting testing certification from Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI). Of the other major problems the exporters identified is 'no incentive', which their competitors, such as China receives from the government.
FARR Ceramics in a span of two and a half years touched a credit mark of around Tk 31 crore from porcelain tableware exports last fiscal year (2008-09), riding out the global recession.
The company that now grabs over 10 percent market share of Tk 300 crore exports of ceramics went into commercial production in February 2007.
FARR is among the few companies that are showing resilience in the international export market. The company exports to 18 countries including Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Turkey and India.
Despite a satisfactory growth rate, Farhad believes Bangladesh has more scope than what it now exports.
“Turkey is becoming a major importer of Bangladeshi ceramics, but we need a health certificate, which our testing institution BSTI is not giving,” Farhad said.
On the government support, he said China gives 22.5 percent incentive to its ceramics exporters, but Bangladesh gives nothing.
Bangladesh's export earnings from ceramics reached $33 million last fiscal year from $1 million in 1991. Besides FARR, other major exporters are Shinepukur, Monno and Artisan Ceramics.
Ceramics and tiles are an emerging industry in Bangladesh. Some Tk 2,000 crore has so far been invested in the sector from home and abroad. Ceramics' local market size was Tk 700 crore last fiscal year.