Technical textiles a promising sector
Bangladesh has a significant opportunity to expand its hold on the global technical textile and personal protective equipment (PPE) markets once local manufacturers find reliable raw material sources and upgrade their operations, according to a study published yesterday.
The international technical textile market is projected to grow from $179.2 billion in 2020 to $224.4 billion by 2025 with an annual average growth rate of about 4.2 per cent, it said.
The study, styled "Feasibility Study on Upscaling the Production of TT/PPE in Bangladesh", was carried out by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with help from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Similarly, the global PPE market is projected to pass $93 billion by the end of 2025.
The EU currently leads the charts for medical textile imports while the demand from North American countries is growing in a trend which is expected to continue.
And although the Covid-19 pandemic has jump started the interest in medical textile products, the world of technical textiles and their end-use products is endless.
Bangladesh also benefits from the EU's Everything but Arms scheme which allows for duty-free imports from least developed countries.
This feasibility report is intended to broaden awareness on what is required to develop the sub-sector in technical textiles and PPE in Bangladesh, the study said.
The potential of technical textiles and its PPE sub-sector will inevitably hinge on Bangladesh's well-established reputation as a leading supplier of apparel made from traditional textiles.
Most apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh tend to be medium-sized companies. Even large apparel groups are not known by international procurement agencies for technical textile products.
The sourcing supply channel for medical PPE is far more complex than that of apparel. Comprehensive details regarding performance, testing and certification requirements for the EU and the US are provided in the report.
Since the Bangladesh technical textile and PPE supply chain is still in its earliest stage, the study was unable to evaluate unit selling costs, manufacturing losses, order lead time, or the impact of current environmental and social standard practices.
Most manufacturers are aware that compared to the fashion industry, with its strong tie-ups with well-known international buyers, access to the technical textile marketplace will be difficult due to the complexity of material sourcing and testing, certification standards.
The overall findings reveal a local industry aware of the global market realities but is reluctant to react to the challenges presented by those realities.
The German development agency GIZ along with the BGMEA shared these findings during a virtual programme.
"We are proud to share the results, particularly critical gaps, key actions and an overall strategy to support Bangladesh in entering this new market and, most importantly, in succeeding there in a sustainable and compliant way," Werner Lange, textile cluster coordinator of GIZ Bangladesh, said in his welcome remarks.
Achim Tröster, Germany's ambassador to Bangladesh; Angelika Fleddermann, country director of GIZ Bangladesh; Faruque Hassan, president of the BGMEA; and Shahidullah Azim and Miran Ali, BGMEA vice presidents, also spoke at the event.