The Daily Star
Publication Date : 12-11-2012
Leading international buyers have said
that Bangladesh is their first choice for sourcing apparel products in
the wake of China's shift from basic garments to other industries.
“Bangladesh is our first choice…the
country has a long history of producing readymade garments,” said
Richard Vuylsteke, leader of the delegation of international buyers that
include more than two dozen global brands and retailers.
“Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar
are the other alternatives,” he said after a meeting with Bangladesh
Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its office
These international buyers imported
readymade garments worth US$5.6 billion from Bangladesh in 2011-12, more
than one-fourth the country's total garment exports worth $19 billion
in the fiscal year.
Vuylsteke, also president of American
Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said they are in Dhaka to diversify
sourcing, particularly after China's shift to heavy industries from
The buyers include Walmart, VFC,
Tradecard, Target, PVH, Li & Fung Group, Kiabi, H&M, Esprit,
Carter's, C&A Mondial, Amer Sports and Avery Dennison.
These Hong Kong-based buyers believe that
Bangladesh has a huge potential to grow with its garment industries but
it has limitations in terms of infrastructure, management and
productivity skill, and safety issues in factories.
The delegation arrived in Dhaka yesterday
on a four-day visit. They will talk to entrepreneurs and government
officials about Bangladesh's prospects to become a RMG giant and the
“They [buyers] are here to see our capacity,” BGMEA President Shafiul Islam told journalists after the meeting with the buyers.
Global buyers are coming to Bangladesh to look for alternatives to Chinese clothing manufacturers, he said.
“It is a crucial time for us. If we can
give them [buyers] the assurance that the government is working to
develop the infrastructure, we can surely become an alternative to China
for them,” he said.
BGMEA said it has the capacity to handle more work orders. But energy and infrastructure constraints are its biggest challenge.
Shafiul said exporters are unhappy about the government's slow implementation of much-needed infrastructure projects.
He referred to the project to expand the
Dhaka-Chittagong highway, slow progress in implementation of Pangaon
river port and inland container depot.
“We don't know when the project to expand
the Dhaka-Chittagong highway will be completed. We have to act fast on
these issues,” said the BGMEA president.
The exporters also talked to the buyers about wages of workers.
“We have urged them to look into the wage
issue, and sought their help for developing two housing projects for
garment workers,” said Shafiul.
The exporters said shortage of skilled manpower still remains a big problem for the industry.
“The apparel industry as a whole faces shortage of 20 per cent skilled manpower,” said BGMEA Vice President Faruque Hassan.
Siddiqur Rahman, another vice president, also spoke on the occasion.