RMG export to India gets a huge boost
Bangladesh's garment exports to India are increasing fast after the duty-waiver facility extended by the Indian government last year.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Bangladesh announced the duty-waiver for 46 garment items on September 7 last year, mainly to minimise the ever-swelling trade gap between the two countries.
In November, the director general of foreign trade of India announced duty waiver on all Bangladeshi products, except 25 products like alcoholic beverages, to the country as the Indian government trimmed its sensitive list for the least developed countries.
Garment exports to India are also increasing because of high demand for basic garment items of the growing middle class consumers in India, exporters said.
According to data from the state-owned Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exported garments worth $30.61 million during the September-March period of the current fiscal year, registering a 77.92 percent growth over the same period last fiscal year.
Of the total amount, knitwear worth $6.47 million was exported, registering a 69.73 percent rise compared to the same period last year.
Woven garment worth $24.15 million was exported, a 80.25 percent growth from that of the corresponding period of the last fiscal year, according to the bureau.
The demand for Bangladesh-made trousers, shirts, blouses, skirts, kids wear, cotton nightwear, jeans, swimwear and tracksuits is high in India even though India itself is a major garment producer and a strong competitor for Bangladesh in the global market.
Before the duty-waiver facility, Bangladesh used to have duty-free exports of eight lakh pieces of garment items under the Saarc Free Trade Agreement (Safta), which came into effect on July, 2006.
Managing Director of Envoy Group Abdus Salam Murshedy, who has business with India, said the country's garment export to India was increasing mainly for two reasons: duty-waiver facility and geographical proximity.
He said exports to India do not need air shipment or long shipment time. “We can send goods in short time even through trucks, whereas exports to other destinations like the EU and the US need a long time and sometimes air shipment,” he said.
India is a new market for Bangladesh, he said, adding that both government officials and exporters were still working to remove different trade barriers. Recently, some garment exporters expressed concern over delayed payment by some buyers in India, he said.
A senior commerce ministry official preferring anonymity said, “We are still working to remove all kinds of trade barrier between Bangladesh and India. If any businessman lodges complaint with us regarding trade barriers between the two countries, we will respond and try to solve it in the shortest possible time.”
The country's export trend to India is still good, said Faruque Hassan, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and a member of the business survey delegation that visited India after the announcement of the duty-free facility to get an idea about the Indian market.
“We have bright export potential in India as the country has strong middle-class consumers,” he said.
Hassan said they would hold meetings with buyers in different Indian cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai, in July and August to attract them.
Bangladesh imported goods worth $3.26 billion during the July-February period of the current fiscal year, according to commerce ministry data. However, it is estimated that goods worth $3 billion is imported through informal means every year.
Export to India was $512 million in 2010-11, which was 68 percent higher than that of 2009-10.