Apparel industry needs to increase production of MMF based items to reach $100 bn export target by 2030

Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh apparel industry needs to increase production of manmade fiber-based items, explore new markets, and attract more investment in the textile industry to reach the $100 billion export target by 2030, said garment and textile sector leaders on Sunday.

While speaking at a parallel session of the Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 on its second day, they said overconcentration to five core items – trousers, T-shirts, sweaters, shirts and blouses, and underwear and two markets Europe and the USA- is one of the major challenges for the Bangladesh apparel industry.

They also mentioned that investment in skills development, design, innovation, efficiency, and recycling technology is also important for the Bangladesh textile and clothing industry to achieve its goal.

At the session titled “Towards a $100 Billion Apparel and Textile Sector: Leveraging Sustainability, Competitiveness, and Investment Opportunities”, Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi MP;  Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, MP, former President of FBCCI and also BGMEA; Mohammad Ali Khokon, President of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA); Mohammad Hatem, Executive President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA); Ms. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, Senior Director, Walmart Sourcing Ethics & Compliance Bengaluru, Karnataka, India; Asif Ashraf, Director of BGMEA; and Azizur R Choudhury, Director of BTMA also spoke at the session as panelists.

In his keynote speech, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said product diversification, innovation, capacity building in backward linkage industry, technological upgradation, skills development, productivity improvement are some of the key areas where the ready-made garment industry of Bangladesh had been focusing on in order to sustain the growth momentum and take it to the next level.

“We aim to make the industry stronger and more competitive through moving to high-value products while integrating technologies and adapting sustainable practices,” he said. He laid emphasis on investment in backward linkage industry. “We have some capacity constraints, particularly in the backward linkage textile industry.

After graduation and in the post-transition period, Bangladesh will automatically fall under the standard GSP of GSP Plus in the EU and we will have to meet double transformation rules of origin in the EU. So we need to make more investment in the backward linkage industry,” he further said.

Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, said clothing made of synthetic materials, technical textiles, and other diversified sustainable items could play a significant role in achieving $100 billion in export earnings from RMG by 2030.

Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, a member of the parliament and also a former president of the BGMEA, stressed a unified code of conduct from global buyers for social compliance audits

Mohammad Hatem, executive president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, also urged the brands and buyers for a unified certification system for the RMG industry.

Sree Devi Kalavakonalu, Senior Director of Walmart India Pvt Ltd, mentioned that the world is facing a challenge of how to increase production volume in a sustainable manner, adding that all companies should think about how to improve the sustainability of their textile supply chain.

Asif Ashraf,Director of BGMEA, said automation, technological upgradation, skills development of workers, and policy support from the government including incentives in MMF are needed to achieve the $100 billion export earnings target by 2030.

Speaking at the session, Textile and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi suggested that the textile and RMG sector leaders go to the prime minister with their demands in writing before the formulation of the forthcoming national budget.

He said the government increased the price of gas with the consent of businesses to reduce subsidies in the sector as the energy price increased abnormally on the global market.