EU crisis slows down apparel export orders
Many of the country's garment factories are running below their capacity as they are receiving fewer export orders due to a volatile economic situation in the western markets, said a top apparel trade body yesterday.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) also said it would take at least six months to finally know where the country's key export sector would head.
"We are getting clear indication that the picture of global economy will not be good until the first quarter of 2012. As our exports depend on the international scenario, this could be a wake-up call for all of us," said Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the BGMEA.
"We are, however, leaving no stone unturned," he told reporters during a press conference at his office in Dhaka.
The BGMEA chief said many factories have reported that they are lying idle as they are receiving fewer orders due to stubborn economic crisis in the US and Europe, the major markets of Bangladeshi garments.
During July-November, Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $4.0 billion and woven worth $3.57 billion, with a 13.14 percent and 23.64 percent rise respectively, compared to the same period a year ago.
Knitwear manufacturers, however, fell 2.57 percent short of reaching the target set by the government, while woven exporters could not reach the target by 1.81 percent.
"We also had hoped that orders being diverted from China due to a rise in production cost there would reach Bangladesh. This has not become a reality at least for now," said Mohiuddin.
"Rather, the orders are going to Latin American countries, as they can deliver the products within a short time. Of course, the buyers are paying them more than they would have paid the Bangladeshi makers," he said.
He said local apparel manufacturers bagged export orders worth $66.35 million in the just concluded annual textile exposition at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. The exposition received export orders worth $65 million last year.
About 175 foreign buyers and 3,015 representatives from Bangladesh's existing export destinations as well as new markets visited the three-day exposition concluded on Monday.
Although the export order is up by only 2.07 percent over the same event last year, Mohiuddin termed the fair successful. "The event has not only attracted buyers from our traditional export destinations, but also from the non-traditional markets."
He urged the government to construct a large convention centre as many of the BGMEA members could not showcase their products. "We could allocate only a small number of stalls, which do not represent our real strength."