To achieve the $50 billion apparel export target by FY 2021, Bangladesh garments accessories sector will play a significant role.
Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) started its operation in the year 1989. The association is the prime organization to safeguard the interest of Garments Accessories and Packaging (GAP) manufacturers & exporters of the country. The BGAPMEA represents more than 1900 export-oriented garments accessories and packaging industries in the country.
Md Abdul Kader Khan, Managing Director of Khan Accessories & Packaging Company Ltd, has been re-elected as the President for 2019-2020 sessions of BGAPMEA. Recently in a conversation with Textile Today, he talked ins and outs about this sector.
Textile Today: You have been re-elected as the President of BGAPMEA, how do you see the prospects for the garments accessories and packaging sector and what are the biggest challenges for the sector in 2019?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: 2019 is very challenging for us especially when you talk about garments accessories and packaging sector. We need to expand our accessories market globally. Nowadays our market is confined to only in Bangladesh but we are capable of taking this to foreign markets also. Now we have a production capacity of more than the local requirement with excellent quality. So In 2019, our major challenge is to expand our market globally.
Another prime challenge is we do not get a fair price for our products from our buyers. And wage hike is another bottleneck challenge for the manufacturers. Already the garments industry increased their workers’ wage. This has created tremendous pressure for us as GAP workers also started demanding an increase in their wage. Whereas, already we are suffering to maintain competitiveness in the accessories market and if we increase workers’ wage than it will be tough for us to survive.
This situation is also known to the local and international buyers, however, disregarding this they are continuously pressuring to decrease price.
Textile Today: How are these challenges can be overcome? What are your demands from the government?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: Many challenges we are facing currently can be overcome if the government and buyers come forward to help us. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh wanted to give us subsidy, but I think to boost the export of accessories and packaging products we need to participate in different international expositions. We urged the EPB to give us the opportunity to participate in the international expos’. We just want a booth, we will bear all costs. If every year we could participate 4 to 5 expositions, we could show our strength in garments accessories and packaging sector. If the government provides equal support like the readymade garments industry, then the garments accessories and packaging sector will become the second largest exporters like the RMG sector.
As for the price negotiation, we regularly meet with buyers. Only the buyers can solve the problem if they want to us to survive.
Another important thing is needed for the sector is automation, we’ve to cope with the latest machinery and technology. As machinery and technology can help the sector to reduce production cost with increasing productivity.
Textile Today: Share us the opportunities of the garments accessories and packaging sector in the national and global arena…
Md Abdul Kader Khan: There are lots of opportunities in this sector since the sector is acting as a backward linkage industry of RMG as well as other export-oriented industries like frozen food, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, leather goods, vegetables, etc. Now almost all the requirements of garments accessories & packaging of readymade garments and other export-oriented industries are being met up locally which is about 95%.
Buyers always want quality products in short lead time with the competitive price. We always fulfill these criteria by providing accessories and packaging products in a very short time with reasonable price. Therefore, apparel manufacturers are being able to make finished products within their buyer’s deadline.
GAP sector earned valuable foreign exchange to the tune of US$ 7.10 billion during the financial year 2017-2018. Out of this amount, US$1.12 billion is exported directly. And we have the capacity to export directly more products valued US$1 to 2 billion. We are not getting enough orders from global buyers as we produce more than the current demand. Therefore, we want to participate in global expos’ as we can present ourselves with international quality standard products.
Textile Today: What are your expectations from the GAPEXPO 2019?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: BGAPMEA is one of the organizers of the expo. The fair is aimed at showcasing the latest products, machinery and raw materials to attract buyers. About 270 companies from 20 different countries are participating in the mega exposition to showcase their latest garment accessories products and latest technology and machinery for the sector.
At the same time, this GAPEXPO provides a marketing platform for the members of BGAPMEA to display their latest products and latest collection to the RMG exporters, other related exporters and buying houses who will be visiting the show.
Branding is necessary especially for apparel sector. We can go a long way if branding is there in a continuous basis.
GAPEXPO should be held every year in Bangladesh so that we can get an idea about the latest products, machinery and raw materials. In fact, this type of fair should aim to attract buyers as it is a common roof to establishing a bridge between the buyers and manufacturers.
Textile Today: To achieve the government target to earn $50bn from apparel export by 2021, how are the garments accessories and packaging sector contributing?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: To achieve the US$50 billion target by FY 2021, GAP sector is likely to be exported US$ 12 billion proportionately, if the sector gets policy support and cooperation from the Government. The country’s RMG sector used to depend on imported packaging materials and accessories a decade ago, but now the local manufacturers are not only catering to the sector, but are also exporting items globally. If the government provides equal facilities and policy support, then we will be able to contribute more than $12bn of export earnings by 2021.
Textile Today: How do you see the branding in this sector? Some of the international garments accessories and packaging companies’ brand is very appreciable, what is the status of local garments accessories and packaging companies in branding?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: Branding is necessary especially in garments accessories and packaging sector. We can go a long way if branding is there in a continuous basis. We have to let people know that Bangladesh is capable of making lots of quality accessories and packages that can meet local and international market demand.
Coats Bangladesh Ltd, Aman Textile those have a strong brand image that is really appreciable. Our local accessories and packaging companies still did not concentrate on branding, though some of us have started branding ourselves, however, we’re still in a very initial stage of branding. And, we have many factories that can start branding, but they did not realize the importance of branding yet.
Textile Today: How can Bangladesh Textile Today promote the local brands in this sector?
Md Abdul Kader Khan: Bangladesh Textile Today is a leading media that can help us in many ways. You need to write about the sector very frequently, we need to be highlighted immensely. If branding and promoting is there then the accessories sector will not have to look back anymore. A very wide range of garment accessories and packaging products including zippers, buttons, labels, interlining, drawstring, sewing thread, elastic/non elastic lace, belt, narrow fabrics, gum tape, scotch tape, masking tape, paper adhesive tape, poly bag, hanger, padding and quilting etc. should be highlighted more so that buyers can know about the quality products we produce. Finally, we have to understand that accessories and packaging goods are the heart of the apparel industry.