In last few years, Bangladesh has experienced rapid growth in export earnings with total figure reaching US$ 31.21 billion during the last financial year from July 2014 to June 2015. Owing to rapid expansion of the export-oriented manufacturing sector, Bangladesh’s export earning has doubled in just five years, despite slow pace in the recovery of global economy. Though textile & apparel sector still remains the predominant contributor in the country’s export earnings, other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, ceramic tableware, plastic and ceramic articles, leather products, agro-products, software & IT solutions, home appliances, electrical gadgets, ships & vessels, light engineering products are emerging progressively.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and China has been growing at an exponential rate. Bilateral trade between China and Bangladesh reached US$ 10.31 billion in 2013 from only about a billion USD in 2002. China has emerged as the largest source of imports for Bangladesh is 2007. Similarly, Bangladesh is China’s third largest trading partner in South Asia. There is still huge potential for growth in bilateral trade. Chinese investments in labour-intensive manufacturing in Bangladesh will substantially increase Bangladesh’s imports of capital goods and industrial inputs from China and the import of component parts or semi-processed items produced in Bangladesh under such arrangements as inputs for China’s high-end manufacturing would not only help maintain a healthy balance in bilateral trade but also facilitate China’s ongoing economic restructuring. Major export items of Bangladesh are as follows:
Ready-made Garments & Knitwear:
Bangladesh is the second largest textile and apparel items exporter in the world, after China. Ready-made Garments (RMG) sector contributes about 80% of the total export earnings of Bangladesh and about 10.5% of the country’s GDP. Bangladesh has earned about US$25 billion from export of ready-made apparels in financial year 2014-15. Knitwear items manufactured with locally knitted fabrics qualify duty free/zero tariff access to EU, Japan, Australia, Norway, and Canada. Bangladesh is one of the biggest suppliers of knit items to the EU.
Home Textile Products:
Home textile products from Bangladesh, which include all sorts of towel, bath robe, wash cloth, kitchen gloves, dish cloth, napkin, bed sheet, bed cover, pillow cover, are quite popular in the world market for their quality and design. Major importing countries of Bangladeshi home textile products are UK, USA, France, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Malaysia, UAE, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Leather and Leather Goods:
Because of the synergy of latest technology with abundant raw materials and inexpensive skilled labour, leather and leather products are now playing an important role in export earnings of the country. Bangladesh produces the world’s finest quality goatskin of smooth grain pattern. Many manufacturers are producing various types of high quality leather items like: shoes, mokasins, travel goods, suitcases, briefcases and fashion accessories, belts, wallets, hand bags, case holders, etc for overseas markets. Bangladesh has also entered in the field of leather fashion garments with items of distinction and prestige. At present, leather products are exported to about 60 countries of the world including USA, UK, Italy, Germany, and Brazil.
Jute and Jute Products:
Bangladesh is blessed with the favourable climate and the potentials to be the largest grower and exporter of the best quality jute, the golden fibre. This gives Bangladesh advantage over other jute growers anywhere in the world. Through uncompromising resolve to stick to the use of the best raw jute, strict adherence to buyers’ needs and specifications, rigorous quality control and timely delivery, Bangladesh has earned international eminence as the principal source of high quality jute. Traditional use of jute fibre includes production of geo-degradable bag and sacks for packing all kinds of agricultural produces, minerals, fertilizer, cement, sand, sugar etc. Fine-count jute clothes are also used as carpet backing and some other purposed. A number of unconventional jute products such as footwear, hand bag, wallet have already been introduced and efforts are going on to further improve the quality of jute fabrics as well as to develop high-value innovative products from jute fibre and jute straw.
Bangladesh is gifted with a fertile land and favorable climate for the production of various agricultural products. In view of the sector’s great potentials, the Government has given much emphasis on the development of agricultural products and agro-based industries in the country. Vegetables, fruits, aromatic fine rice, tea and other agro-products are being exported regularly. Besides, a number of processed agro-based items such as spices, chanachur, potato chips, fruit juice, pickles, are being exported to overseas markets. Major importing countries of agro products are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UK, USA and Germany. The Government and the private sector are working together to set up “export villages” for the production of quality fruits and vegetables.
Fish and Shrimps:
Bangladesh, a riverine deltaic country having 0.33 million hectors of inland water and 480 km coast line with its warm tropical climate, offers a vast reserve of fresh and brackish water fish, including shrimps and crabs. Bangladesh is the fourth largest sweet water fish producing country and the fifth largest fish cultivating nation in the world. Because of the Government’s continued financial & technical supports and growing initiatives from the private sector, Bangladesh’s fish production has increased by about 55% over the last decade. Bangladesh is exporting frozen shrimp to about 30 countries of the world including USA, Japan, Belgium, UK, The Netherlands, France and Germany. Over the past decade, Bangladesh’s fish export has increased by 135%.
Light Engineering Industries:
Light Engineering Industries play a significant role in augmenting the industrial base and volume of foreign trade of Bangladesh. More than 30,000 light engineering units are in operation around the country. Meanwhile, bicycle has emerged as one of the potential products in the Light Engineering sector in Bangladesh. Export of motor-cycles, component parts for automobile and various equipments/machinery, steel and copper ware, optical and medical instruments is gradually increasing.
Ceramic Table wares:
Bangladesh has emerged as one of the successful manufacturing and exporting countries of quality ceramic tableware. Almost all the producing units have succeeded in establishing their brand names in the international ceramic tableware market. To ensure proper quality and goodwill, all the producing units use advanced manufacturing plant with high-tech latest machinery. Each of the units has its own in-house laboratory facility for quality control and testing mechanism. At present, ceramic tableware is being exported to USA, UK, Italy, Spain, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Australia, Sweden.
Pharmaceutical is one of the fastest growing sectors in Bangladesh. At present, Bangladesh exports a wide range of pharmaceutical products covering all major therapeutic classes to over 100 countries including highly regulated US and EU markets. Along with regular forms like tablets, capsules and syrups, Bangladesh also exports specialized products like HFA inhalers, CFC inhalers, suppositories, nasal sprays, injectables, IV infusions, etc. These products have been well accepted by medical practitioners, chemists, patients and the regulatory bodies of all of their importing nations. The packaging and the presentation of the products of Bangladesh are comparable to any international standard.
Toiletries and Cosmetics:
In recent times, toiletries and cosmetics items of Bangladesh have made significant improvement as regards quality and packaging. Using the most modern method of production, technology and world class raw materials, the finished products are of international standard and capable of competing with products of the renowned companies of the world. Toiletries and cosmetics products produced in the country are exported to UAE, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Oman, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, France, Singapore and other countries.
Software and ICT products:
The software is a recent booming industry in Bangladesh and enjoys progressive rises in export volume. Bangladesh export earnings from software crossed US$ 100m for the first time in the last fiscal year 2012-13. Country’s software export registered more than 40% growth for last few years. Target has been set to earn US$ 1billion annually from software export by next 5 years. At the moment, main destinations of Bangladeshi software products are USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, India and Japan.
Ships and vessels:
In the recent years, shipbuilding has become a major promising industry in Bangladesh with great export potentials. Bangladesh has now over 200 shipbuilding or repair units, mostly concentrated in Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj and Khulna. Some of the private companies have formed joint ventures to meet the growing international demands for advanced vessels. In 2008, Bangladesh has become a ship exporting country. In view of growing amount of export deals secured by local shipbuilding companies as well as the abundance in skilled workforce at low cost, experts suggest that Bangladesh could emerge as a major competitor in the global market of small to medium size ocean-going vessels.
Electronics and electrical products:
Electronic and electrical industry in Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing industries with immense potential. In last three decades, numerous electronic products assembly plants and spare parts producing companies have been established in Bangladesh. By this time, a number of multinational companies have set up assembly and manufacturing plants in the country. Recently, a few local companies have also established complete manufacturing plants for many electronic products in joint collaboration with foreign companies. Bangladesh now exports varieties of home appliances and other electronic and electrical products to Africa, the Middle East and some other regions of the world.