The apparel industry has set a target to take its exports to $100 billion by 2030, which will aid to boost the garment accessories and packaging sector to $15 billion.
There are more than 1400 garment accessories and packaging factories across the country. The sector meet 90% of accessories demand for exportable apparels. The calculation can easily be made that the boost of apparel export will simultaneously lift the garment accessories and packaging sector in terms of their productions and exports.
The garment accessories and packaging sector begun its journey in the mid-1980. Corrugated carton product was the very first item, the accessories entrepreneurs begun with. Now the sector manufactures more than 30 garments accessories and packaging items. However, more than half of the factories that had started with manufacturing of corrugated cartons are no longer in business. As they failed to make necessary big investments with technological advancement, entrepreneurs say.
Tk 40,000 crore in the last 15 years has been invested in the sector. The sector exports $500 million worth of accessories last year, according to the sector leader. Bangladesh exports accessories items directly to Middle-East, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos etc.
The sector is aiding the RMG industry to attain the 2nd most apparel exporter spot. A number of garment factories also invested in the accessories sector like Mondol Group, one of the leading apparel makers, has an accessories factory named Montrims Limited. Also, at least 50 factories, including Envoy Group, Deco Group, KDS, Epyllion, Babylon, Four Group, Sadma Fashion, Onus Group, Designtex Group, and Well Group have accessories factories.
Remaining challenges to boost garment accessories sector
The sector has the capacity to produce 100% of the accessories and packaging products needed for the Bangladesh apparel industry. Instead of availability of accessories items in Bangladesh, apparel manufacturers—sometimes– choose China for sourcing accessory products. One of the reasons behind this the cheaper price of Chinese items. Because of a higher price of raw materials caused by import duty combined with the delay of importing have increased the production cost. In this reality, sometimes, local accessories manufacturers cannot offer a lower price than China.
Also, the RMG makers’ imports accessories and packaging products from other countries as sometimes buyers nominate foreign companies, mainly for the fancy items. In that case, RMG millers are paying almost double to source their accessories from overseas.
A.H. Md. Rezanur Sohel, Managing Director, eS Trims Ltd. told Textile Today, “Bangladesh is now equipped to produce all sorts of accessories. RMG factories should stand together to place the orders to local accessories factories at the right price. Accessories factories are not getting the right price for their products, which could lead them to produce more verities of products.”
Possibilities that lie ahead
Accessories entrepreneurs are going for expansion to emphasis more on specialized items such as ornamental laces, hooks, specialized laces for branded garment and special lingerie boxes. Key raw materials for manufacturing accessories are polypropylene resins, paper, printing ink, chemical, carton paper, and zipper metal.
At present, the garment accessories sector is manufacturing smart products like radio frequency identification (RFID) for supply chain tracking and biodegradable packaging. Also, the accessories industry has got barcode stickers and poly stickers in its product list, which were imported from China even in five years ago.
“We have the potential to become a hub for the exports of accessories. Bangladesh also has capability to export packaging of other products to different countries, apart from apparel,” Moazzem Hossain Moti, President, Bangladesh Garment Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) said.
The due to fast-changing customer demands – the fashion industry is evolving fast. This new trend has huge impact in fabric manufacturing and the accessories sector.
Dewan Saiful Alam Masud, Vice Chairman of the Asia-Africa Committee of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce emphasized to do more R&D to diversify the products and expand to sell more products with a higher value.
“Though in comparison to our past, we have quite a lot of apparel accessories industries, we are not as dominant in selling higher-end goods due to our quality standards and there are still many buyers who import items from China or Hong Kong. We can try to improve our standard and convince buyers to get those accessories made locally instead of importing them. As a result, our accessories supplier may tap into other apparel manufacturing countries to supply their items instead of only supplying locally,” he said.
In the industry more than five lakh people are employed, according to Bangladesh Garment Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
There are at least 30 companies in the sector with an investment of Tk500 crore each, as per the association.
China-Bangladesh joint-owned company M/s Jinqiu Global Textile Bangladesh Limited is going to set up a garment accessories manufacturing factory at Ishwardi Export Processing Zone (IEPZ) with an investment of $15.63 million. The jointly owned company will produce 25 crore meters and 2 million different types of garment accessories annually. The factory will create employment opportunities for 981 Bangladeshi citizens.
The accessories items Bangladesh produces are included: backboard, neck board, collar bone, collar set, sewing thread, elastic, button, zipper, poly bag, plastic hanger, main label, size label, and care label.
BGAPMEA President said they need support from the Export Promotion Bureau for highlighting the country’s competitiveness abroad and a positive attitude of the Customs Department of the National Board of Revenue.
“If the accessories sector is given eight-year period term loan with 4% interest rate to replace the machinery – then it will greatly aid the sector and we can certainly keep pace with the era,” he said.
“BGMEA, BKMEA, BTMA members get incentive on export. Accessories manufacturers do not get such incentive. So our appeal to the govt. is that they should consider the accessories and packaging sector for incentive and long-term loan facility in low interest rate.”