Bangladesh still a top choice for garment buyers
Despite frequent factory disasters, Bangladesh remains the favourite of international garment retailers mainly due to the competitive prices the country offers, participants in a textile show said yesterday.
Now Bangladesh is considered an alternative to China, the largest apparel exporter worldwide, as the prices of garment products in the Asian giant have gone up due to higher cost of production and a shortage of workers, they said.
“We have no shortage of orders,” said Mohammad Delwar Hossain, a senior marketing officer of Beximco Textiles, a leading garment maker, at a pavilion at the 24th Batexpo at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
The three-day annual extravaganza -- Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition -- kicked off yesterday.
Hossain said many had thought after the Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse that the global retailers would shy away from placing orders in Bangladeshi factories.
But that did not happen, he said, adding: “The retailers are coming in increasing numbers though they are now more cautious about the compliance issues.”
Another reason the retailers prefer Bangladesh is that the country now manufactures diversified and value-added products, Hossian said. Value-added and high-end products account for almost 30 percent of Bangladesh's total apparel exports.
The demand for such items is growing among the Western customers, he added.
However, turnout at the show was poor compared to the previous years as the exhibition is taking place ahead of the Eid festival, the participants said.
Many foreign buyers did not join the show as Bangladesh Garment Manufac-turers and Exporters Association, the garment makers' platform, opened it early this year fearing political unrest in November and December, they said.
“The business is so-so. Response from the buyers is not so good this year,” said Zhang Hua, a Chinese entrepreneur who came to Bangladesh to take part in the show. “Bangladesh's competitiveness is increasing as China is losing its business,” he said.
Nurul Ain, deputy general manager (marketing) of Nassa Group, a leading garment maker of Bangladesh, said buyers have become cautious about compliance after the factory disasters.
"But they (the buyers) are also offering higher prices to help the local makers comply with standards," he said.
Bangladesh exported garment items worth $21.51 billion in fiscal 2012-13 registering a 12.70 percent growth compared to the previous year. China's apparel exports stood at $159.9 billion in 2012.