Delegation of Australia’s one of the largest specialty fashion retailers Country Road Group (CRG) visited the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) on 13 December 2022. The purpose of the visit was to exchange views to improve bilateral cooperation and increase trade between Australia and Bangladesh.
Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Brewer was present as the chief guest. The event was moderated by the MCCI President, Md. Saiful Islam. Mr. Rachid Maliki, GM, Global Supply Chain and Sourcing, CRG, led the CRG delegation was the Special Guest of the event.
Saiful Islam said, “With the graduation of LDC in 2026, Bangladesh will have to overcome the challenges of loss of preferential treatment in its export market”. He praised Australia’s decision to allow Bangladeshi exports preferential treatment in Australia even after LDC graduation.
Rachid Maliki has already visited several export-oriented garments, textile and formal wear manufacturing plants said, “I have visited Bangladesh several times, but now I have a new responsibility to diversify our supply chain.”
Maliki also said the Country Road Group is highly dependent on China, which contributes above 90% of the group’s total sourcing value.
Aiming to reduce their dependence on China to make a sustainable supply, Australian retailer has showed interest to explore Bangladesh as a sourcing destination.
Maliki praised Bangladesh’s latest factories and how they underscore safety, security and green transformation, and said that since Bangladesh’s share of Country Road Group’s sourcing was very low, there was a lot of room for improvement.
According to the Australia-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Ibnul Wara, the delegation of the Country Road Group is currently visiting Bangladesh to find new suppliers for apparel and footwear items.
Ibnul Wara, also managing director of Austan Ltd, one of the leading tanneries based in the Dhaka Economic Processing Zone said, “We have been in business with the Country Road Group for the last few years but now we want to increase the market share”.
CRG do everything from a range of fashion items for adults and kids, and accessories for formal wear. It also has a home textiles line. It comprises five iconic brands – Country Road, Mimco, Trenery, Witchery, and Politix.
According to the EPB data, Bangladesh exported goods worth $916.24 million to Australia in the last financial year 2021-22, of which 88.6% were apparel goods. On the other hand, Bangladesh’s imports from Australia in the same fiscal year were about $1.24 billion, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
The ambassador affirmed that Australia is ready to help and support increasing bilateral trade at the government level. He also emphasized the need for sustainability.