Interview with Md. Atiqul Islam

Md. Atiqul Islam
Md. Atiqul Islam

Bangladesh sources most of its raw materials from China and India
Besides being a major sourcing destination for Ready Made Garments (RMG), Bangladesh has the potential to rise in the global textile and apparel industry. Md. Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) talks to about the possible path that the Bangladeshi textile industry is about to take.

Bangladesh has emerged as a leading manufacturing hub for the best of global brands, but it is yet to launch any one brand which may be said to originate from the country. Any plans to launch a Bangladeshi brand?

We are very proud that Bangladesh is the second-largest apparel exporting country in the world. Our competitive price and the quality of our garments have attracted almost all renowned global brands like H&M, PVH, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, JC Penney etc. The ever-increasing presence of global brands in Bangladesh also reflects their confidence and long-term commitment to us. While it is true that we produce apparel for famous global brands, there is no visible progress in launching such brands in our country yet. However, a few individual companies are trying to create their own brands. We are working on it, but we will take time to come up with a distinctive brand.

What do you estimate will be the size of the global garment industry? How much of it is handled by Bangladesh?

The current volume of world apparel trade is almost US$ 450 billion. Bangladesh holds 4.83 per cent of that, indicating a tremendous potential to further penetrate the global market. The global apparel market is predicted to be US$ 650 billion by 2020, implying a further demand for US$ 200 billion apparel in the next six years. Bangladesh RMG sector can gain a large share of this new market. We have set a goal of US$ 50 billion in RMG exports in 2021, and we have a firm belief that it is achievable.

Which are the emerging hotpots from where Bangladesh sources its raw materials?

Bangladesh sources its raw materials mainly from China and India.

To which countries do you export majorly? Which newer countries do you intend to tap in near future?

Bangladesh's apparel exports have been concentrated on two major destinations - the European Union and North America. It is encouraging to note that over the last five years, remarkable progress has been achieved in diversifying our exports to non-traditional markets. This diversification and growth of export destinations is a healthy sign. Over the last five years, there has been a significant rise in exports to Japan, China, India, South Korea, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

Has Bangladesh gone from being a cookie-cutter manufacturing hub to a region from where design, innovation and trends are also suggested to the international clients?

The majority of our RMG exports are concentrated on basic products. We wish to enter the market with some higher-end products like suits or blazers, lingerie, jackets, swimwear, sportswear, uniforms, raincoats, fishing wear etc. For this, we will require technological upgrading and targeted expertise. For that purpose, we are gradually improving in design, innovation and trends and scaling up in this area.
Published on: 31/08/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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