Exports rise but fall short of target | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 04, 2019

Exports rise but fall short of target

Export earnings increased 2.18 percent year-on-year to $3.43 billion in December thanks to higher shipment of garment items.

The receipt is still 3.49 percent short of the month's target of $3.55 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

In the six months to December last year, overall export earnings grew by 14.42 percent year-on-year to $20.49 billion, which is 9.13 percent higher than the period's target of $18.78 billion.

In the period, garment shipment—which typically contributes over 82 percent of the country's export earnings—grew by 15.65 percent year-on-year to $17.08 billion.

Of the amount, knitwear fetched $8.65 billion and woven contributed $8.43 billion, registering a 13.92 percent and 17.48 percent year-on-year growth in the period respectively.

“The future outlook is even brighter for garment shipment,” Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The Daily Star.

The western retailers are coming to Bangladesh with increased volume of work orders, as over 90 percent of the work for factory remediation recommended by the Accord and Alliance is complete, Rahman said.

The efforts for factory remediation improved workplace safety to a great extent, which brightened Bangladesh's image abroad, he said.

Also the existence of political stability for a long time played an important role for smooth shipment of goods and peaceful operations of factories, the chief of the garment makers' platform said.

The factory owners in Bangladesh spent over $3 billion in the last five years for the remediation work to strengthen the workplace safety after the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013.

“We are also taking efforts to raise productivity to be more competitive worldwide with the installation of state-of-the-art machinery in factories.”

He, however, said the Chattogram port needs to perform better to boost exports.

“Now we have the capacity to produce any quantity of garment items as we have expanded our operations over the years.”

He stressed on the need for improving the condition of the roads and highways for smooth transportation of goods.

Apart from garment, shipments of agricultural products like vegetables, tobacco, fruits, spices and dry food, rose by 66.8 percent to $517.64 million in the period.

Ceramics shipment grew significantly by 157.98 percent to $50.77 million while furniture export grew by 40.56 percent to $33.72 million. Also, exports of frozen and live fish grew by 0.73 percent to $314.73 million, according to the EPB data.

In the period, businesses sent an increased amount of pharmaceuticals, plastic goods, handicrafts and cotton and cotton products. Exports of man-made filaments and staple fibre, carpets, specialised textiles like terry towel, special woven and knitwear fabrics, home textile, wigs or human hair, headgear or cap and engineering products also increased.

However, leather and leather products' shipment fell by 14.18 percent to $532.3 million while jute and jute goods' export dropped by 26.66 percent to $421.02 million. The shipment of leather and leather goods fell as a majority of the tanneries, which have recently been relocated to an estate in Savar, are yet to start operations in full swing, industry insiders said.

Shipments of bed, kitchen and toilet lines fell 4.86 percent to $265.37 million while footwear shipment also dropped 2.2 percent to $127.19 million.

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