That is really appreciable. <br></br> Mr Islam, from this year start, the European Union’s relaxed rules, which are meant for the Least Developed Countries (LCDs), under Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in case of textile trade, are also applied. How is this move bidding for RMG sector of your country?
The revised GSP rules of origin adopted by the EU has created a new momentum in our exports to EU, particularly in the area of GSP utilization we have seen remarkable surge. Previously around 40% of our woven exports used to avail GSP benefit, whereas more than 80% of knitwear exports to EU used to get this benefit. Now, all exports are eligible for GSP, as the rule has come down from 2-stage to 1-stage work processing. We believe this will open a new door of opportunity for us to further penetrate our market in the Euro zone. On the other hand it will also create a market for textile and textile articles in Bangladesh for countries like India from where we are already sourcing cotton and textiles.
In that connection, how about recently held trade-talk between India and Bangladesh’s Commerce ministers; what benefits it stores for both nations?
The visit of Honorable Commerce Minister of India has created a new enthusiasm particularly in the business community of Bangladesh. We welcome the announcement of Indian Commerce Minister to enhance the existing Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for apparel from 8 million pieces to 10 million pieces, but in contrast to the capacity of our industry this quota is very nominal. However, we have been assured the due consideration of India about withdrawing the 4% special additional duty levied on the exports under TRQ and also to eliminate some apparel items from the India’s sensitive list. The most important of such visit is the remarkable improvement of bilateral relationship between these two neighboring countries.
Well, that was on the rosy side of the picture. Now, discussing on the areas of hurdles; Gas crisis have been great impediment. What say?
Yes, we have some infrastructural bottlenecks. But the encouraging fact is that the present government has taken all-out steps to address these problems, particularly to improve the electricity and gas shortfall. Significant improvement is already visible and we hope over the next year or two, the situation will calm down. However, we have also made specific recommendations from the business side to improve the situation.
In tune to your note on solutions to infrastructural bottlenecks; will Bangladesh adapt itself on the front of E-commerce that is going to be a must tool for trade in apparel retail industry for near future?
Yes, there is no denial to the importance of information technology particularly in the international trade and business. It is next to impossible to stay alive in the business without having proper access to information. The present government of Bangladesh has also a clear agenda which is Digital Bangladesh. We have made significant progress in the area of information technology and its application over the past decade. Around 77% of our population are young and below 40 years of age. Most of them are computer literate. So we see a good prospect in using e-commerce and yield the optimum benefits of it.
Closing the talk here, may I lastly request you to also share about the activities that BGMEA carries to hone its human resource?
In our discussion before I have already mentioned points about welfare and CSR activities that BGMEA does for our workers and the community. Apart from that, BGMEA also runs an extensive program on skill development country-wide. We follow a unique model in skill development: train the poor people living in the distressed areas, utilizing the idle capacity of Government’s technical training institutes and this addresses the skill shortage of the industry. Currently, we are running 10 training centers and will open more. Besides, we run separate training program for the rehabilitation of returned Camel JOKIES.
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 Fibre2Fashion.com.