Biggest garment expo starts on a sombre note
A giant signboard with a mourning sign -- to express sympathy for the Tazreen fire victims -- greeted the visitors yesterday as they entered the country's biggest apparel and textile exposition.
This was the first day of the 23rd annual Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (BATEXPO) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association -- to boost the country's main breadwinning sector.
Spread across 138 stalls, the exposition has all the stakeholders of the country's apparel industry, starting from the accessories and machineries suppliers to the garment manufacturers, quality and safety service providers to the financial institutions.
The recent political instability and the fire incident, however, have put a damper on the three-day exposition showcasing the best of local apparel products to international buyers.
â€œAround 20 buyers from Germany and France have cancelled their planned visit to the fair due to the recent turn of events,â€ said BGMEA Vice-President Faruque Hassan.
This correspondent, though, found a healthy crowd size at the exposition.
But it was at the stalls selling ready stock apparel for export where most visitors flocked around.
This year, several garment manufacturers are showcasing ready stocks all kinds of clothing items, ranging from trousers to winter coats, T-shirts to shirts.
â€œWe have now eleven types of ready stock items, including men's shirts, ladies' T-shirts, complete suits and ladies knitted tops,â€ said Haqkani MM Alom, managing director of 3A Garments & Hosiery Pvt Ltd.
At present, the company has stock of: 1500 complete suit sets costing $60 a set; 1,000 pieces of ladies' knitted tops at $5 apiece; and 20,000 pieces of printed shirts, each costing $3.10.
Alom said his company can deliver the stock within 30 days of receipt of the letters of credit from the buyers.
Also present was JUKI Machinery Bangladesh, displaying modern sewing machines that can perform lockstitch, buttonholing, cover stitch, over lock and different spare parts, for sale.
â€œInterested apparel manufacturers can buy JUKI machines from Bangladesh as the company prepares local stock based on customer demands,â€ said Md Abul Hashem, the company's manager for sales promotion.
Different banks including Prime, Mercantile, AB, IFIC, EXIM, South East and NCC are showcasing their financial products -- to facilitate trade.
â€œThe expo is designed to showcase the diversification of readymade garments and the development of local backward linkage industries, including the progress in textile and accessory production,â€ said Hassan.
Last year, Hassan said, buyers from 40 countries attended the exposition, and orders worth $64.77 million were received and stock lots worth $1.58 million were bought -- on the spot.
He said around 100 international buyers have so far set up sourcing or liaison offices in Bangladesh.
â€œWe expect that our spot orders will increase by 20 percent this year,â€ said the BGMEA vice-president, although expressing concern over the recent political instability and fire incident.
The three-day exposition will end on Friday, and as a mark of respect to the Tazreen victims no cultural programme would be held this year.
Prime Bank and MGH Group are the lead sponsors of the show.