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One of three T-shirts in EU made in Bangladesh

Saturday July 29 2006 10:48:44 AM BDT

Kazi Azizul Islam

One in every three T-shirts sold in EU markets is made in Bangladesh, shows a recent market report.However, although Bangladesh tops T-shirt import to the European Union (The New Age)

in terms of volume, Turkey remains the top earner.

Bangladeshi exporters shipped about 251 million T-shirts to the EU or 32 per cent of the total EU imports in the first four months of the current year, and earned about 328 million euros.

Turkish exporters shipped 137 million T-shirts in the same period but earned 508 million euros, according to the report prepared by a leading textile market analyst.

The report was made available to New Age by sources in the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association.

Bangladeshi exporters offer the lowest prices to their buyers – only 1.31 euro for a T-shirt, much lower than the world average of 2.17 euros.

Turkish exporters sell one T-shirt at 3.30 euros on average. India sells one T-shirt for 2.27 euros, China for 2.82 euros and Morocco 1.67 euros.

Jahangir Alam, executive director of Knit Concern Limited, one of Bangladesh’s leading T-shirt exporters, observed that easy availability of high quality cotton and fashion accessories had helped Turkish manufacturers to produce high value items and earn the highest.

‘High value products helped Turkey keep their exports profitable although labour cost is much higher there, especially compared to Bangladesh,’ he said. ‘If backward linkages, especially for high value items, are developed in Bangladesh, factories and workers here who stitch fine will be able to compete Turkey in the high value segment.’

Although Bangladeshi knitwear manufacturers procure more than 80 per cent raw material, especially cotton yarns, from local sources but those are ordinary grade and suitable only for low-cost basic knitwear, industry people said.

High-value items need finer quality yarns, attractive accessories including fashion stones, ribbons and laces and those are not adequately available in Bangladesh, they said.

The EU market report shows that Germany heads the list of important markets and imports 24.66 per cent of all T-shirts in the first quarter from global suppliers.

Imports entering Germany also grew in volume by 38.26 per cent, compared to the first quarter of 2005, an improvement on the 9.74 per cent growth in 2005. Exports to the United Kingdom, second biggest importer in terms of volume, increased 12 per cent.

Bangladesh is regarded as the cheapest source of knitwear in global markets and the European retailers, especially those in Germany, are the largest importers of Bangladeshi knitwear.

Backed by cheaper labour sources, Bangladesh’s knitwear sector has been expanding robustly in recent years.

Industry people predict that, within the next few months, export earning from the knitwear sector would cross that of the readymade woven garment, the largest earner with around $3.6 billion every year.

The Export Promotion Bureau has recently disclosed that in 11 months of the just-ended fiscal year, knitwear exporters shipped products worth $3.5 billion, up $600 million more than in the previous fiscal year.

With more than 1,500 knitwear factories in operation at present, production capacity and earnings of the knit sector has doubled in the last couple of years.


The New Age BD

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