Leather goods export gathers pace on value additionMoinul Haque
Earnings from the leather products export posted a robust growth of 107 per cent in the first half of the current financial year as the exporters in the sector shifted their focus from finished leather to leather goods exports.
The exporters see a bright future of the leather products of Bangladesh as the sector is now competing with China and India and the competitive edge of the local industry is increasing.
Leaders of the sector said entrepreneurs were now more interested to produce leather products than to export leather and the trend was the main cause of the significant export growth.
They also said that many tannery owners were now going for more value addition which increased the export of leather products.
In July-December of the current financial year, the leather product exports posted a 107-per cent growth, according to an Export Promotion Bureau data.
In the financial year of 2011-2012, the export growth of the leather products was 79.29 per cent.
According to the EPB, in the first half of the last financial year, the leather product exports posted a 39.66-per cent growth.
The EPB data showed that the export proceeds in the first half of the current financial year increased to $73.27 million from that of $35.39 million in the corresponding period of the last financial year.
Belal Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association, told New Age on Thursday that the exporters were reducing the export of finished leather and moving towards the production of leather goods in a bid to add more value on the export products.
To increase export earnings, this is the best way for the entrepreneurs, he said.
Belal said that demand for Bangladeshi leather products including bags, ladies’ bags, belts, money bags, purses and hand gloves were increasing at the European and Asian markets due to their competitive prices.
He hoped that a diversification of leather products would bring good day to the sector as the largest global exporter of leather products, China, has been losing its competitiveness.
Md Nazmul Hassan Sohail, senior vice-president of Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said that the competitiveness of the sector had been increasing and the exporters preferred goods export to finished leather.
A number of young entrepreneurs have joined in the sector and they know how to compete in the global market, he said.
Nazmul said, ‘It is possible to earn five times foreign currency by exporting leather products instead of exporting finished and crude leather.’
As the forward linkage industry, leather goods sector is playing a significant role in generating employment and in increasing export volume, he said.
‘We have a lot of opportunities in the global market as China, which meets around 80 per cent of total global demand for lather products, is losing its position,’ Nazmul said adding that most of the buyers, therefore, were now showing interest to source from Bangladesh.
He said that China itself was exploring alternative market to relocate their factories and business because of rising labour cost and Bangladesh could be a choice for the world’s second biggest economy.
If the foreign entrepreneurs come here, it will be positive for the country as the sector will be introduced to the latest technology, he added.
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