Textile chemical: another export hope
Bangladesh has turned into a textile chemical exporter from importer in recent years, helping the country save and earn millions of foreign currency, industry players said.
Presently, the country is exporting hydrogen peroxide, a major chemical used in the bleaching and sterilising process in textile and paper and pulp industries, to half a dozen countries including India, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“Until 2010, Bangladesh was an importer of the product. Now we are exporting to a number of countries after meeting the domestic demand,” said Mostafa Haider Shiblee, managing director of Samuda Chemicals.
The chemical is produced by two other companies: Tasnim Chemicals of Meghna Group, a giant commodity trader, and ASM Chemical Industries.
Samuda Chemicals, which is owned by TK Group, one of the largest industrial and trading conglomerates in Bangladesh, exports 1,800 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide a month, Shiblee said.
India is the largest destination of Bangladesh's hydrogen peroxide followed by Pakistan, according to manufacturers.
More than 1,200 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide are exported to India a month and about 400 tonnes to Pakistan.
In fiscal 2014-15, over $7 million worth of the chemical was exported, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
Of the sum, India and Pakistan together accounted for about $6.5 million.
“We have huge potential to export hydrogen peroxide to other countries too,” said Mostafa Kamal, chairman and managing director of Meghna Group of Industries.
But Bangladesh's further export potential of the chemical has faced a setback from Pakistan, which has moved to impose an antidumping duty on imports of the chemical from Bangladesh.
The National Tariff Commission of Pakistan on April 28 issued a notice inviting interested parties to attend a hearing on the issue.
“We will fight against the Pakistan move,” said a Bangladesh Tariff Commission official. The date for the hearing is yet to be finalised, he added.
An importing country can impose antidumping duty if it finds proof after investigation that the exporting country dumped the product, causing material injury to the domestic industry, according to the World Trade Organisation.
The antidumping duty cannot be imposed if the conditions are not met.