Strategic partnerships between countries in general and specific industries in particular are essential to compete in today international marketplace. Bangladesh' garment industry, which has small beginnings similar to Sri Lanka could clearly synergise with us for international mutual gains, said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce.
Minister Bathiudeen said this when he received a visiting two member business group from Bangladesh Export Promotion Zone Authority (BEPZA), the regulator of country's eight export processing zones.
The business group which is on a three day tour of Sri Lanka, consists of Major General ATM Shahidul Islam (Executive Chairman, BEPZA) and AZM Azizur Rahman (General Manager, BEPZA).
Bangladesh entered the export market of apparels in 1978 and now employs nearly 2.5 million workforce. In 2010-11 Bangladesh earned $14.17 billion from readymade garments as country's garment exports posted 43% growth in the 11 months of the current fiscal (2010-11). Among Bangladesh' new export markets include India, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.
In view of using Bangladesh's special preferences as a Least Developed Country (LDC) status, Minister Bathiudeen said: “Sri Lanka's target for 2015 is US $ 5 billion in garment exports. Sri Lankan garment industry is making headway to develop this industry in both fronts-both back end and the front end.
At the back end, In order to achieve low cost in manufacturing, Sri Lanka can outsource its garment production to Bangladesh and export directly from there making use of Bangladeshi preferential market access, specially to EU while attending to front end operations from Sri Lanka.”
“We are looking for synergy with Sri Lanka in apparel manufacturing” said Major General ATM Shahidul Islam (Executive Chairman, BEPZA), addressing Minister Bathiudeen. “One of our main imports from Sri Lanka is garment accessories to be used in our apparel exports” he said.
AZM Azizur Rahman (General Manager, BEPZA) addressing the Minister said that there are huge cost savings in Bangladesh for Sri Lanka. “We are providing lease of Bangladeshi EPZ land for Sri Lanka and other international investors at a very nominal US $ 2.20 per square feet per year. We also do not lock down initial investment more than one year. Even if investors have borrowed money internationally and invest in Bangladesh, there is no tax” Mr Rahman said.
Minister Bathiudeen stressed: “Our 2011 first quarter garment export figures are encouraging. Sri Lanka is positioning itself to the high end niches in very competitive international markets. This strategy has paid dividends despite withdrawal of GSP+ concessions from the EU, but Sri Lanka would like to see a vibrant garment industry in the south Asian region which is now over US $ 50 Billion mark. In this context strategic partnerships between countries in general and industries in particular are essential to compete internationally.”
Ministry of Industry & Commerce