CALL FOR STRATEGY TO MAKE RMG SECTOR READY FOR DUTY REGIME
‘We are able to take challenge in future as Bangladesh has 35 years of experience’
Canadian High Commissioner Benoit Pierre Laramee urged Bangladesh to set strategy to manage the RMG sector as it won’t get duty-free market access during the transition from a low- to middle-income country.
The Canadian envoy came up with the call at a meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at its headquarters in the city yesterday.
Bangladesh’s RMG sector has set target to export $50bn apparel products by 2021. It will contribute towards the broader vision of Bangladesh reaching middle-income status, said Laramee.
However, the time now is ripe for Bangladesh to strategize and plan on how it will manage the sector during the transition from a low- to middle-income country as Bangladesh will not get duty-free access once it reaches middle-income status, he said.
The Canadian government will continue its duty-free market access for Bangladesh and provide assistance to develop workers’ efficiency and building capacity of RMG manufacturers, said Lameree. Bangladesh apparel export to Canada reached $1bn in the fiscal year 2013-14, which is a remarkable growth from $595.55m in fiscal year 20109-10, said Laramee.
The value of bilateral merchandise trade has more than triple going from $478 million in 2003 to nearly $1.7 billion in 2012.
“Our trade relationship stands at 1.9 billion. It has grown by over 300% since 2004,” he said.
The RMG sector is critical to Bangladesh’s economy and responsible for significant women employment and economic empowerment in the country as well as foreign currency earning, he adds.
Bangladesh has shown excellent competencies in apparel making and Canadian consumers are ready to pay high for it, said Laramee.
The envoy also said in cost and efficiency, Bangladesh is one of the most competitive countries in the world for mostly the apparel items and it needs to maintain the quality and efficiency to sustain its comparative advantage.
Export to Canada went down due to devaluation of Canadian dollars against the US dollar as the prices of their products are set based on the dollar rate, said BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, replying to a question. “We are able to take challenge in future as Bangladesh has 35 years of experience, skilled manpower, fair price, quality and vibrant population.”
Bangladesh has sent the safety message of RMG sector to the global buyers and the orders will come back to Bangladesh very soon, he added.
In the first eight months of the current fiscal, Bangladesh’s export to Canada declined by 12.6% to $587 million compared to the same period last year.
MARCH 24, 2015