Bangladesh is optimistic it will meet its 2014 garment export targets

Bangladesh is optimistic it will meet its 2014 garment export targets

Bangladesh's apparel and textile exports are continuing to grow despite the recent political unrest and workplace safety concerns among global buyers, according to the country's exporters.

Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, managing director at DBL Group, said brands such as Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Walmart have kept buying. "Orders are just fine...We're sure to record 11% export growth in 2014," Jabbar told just-style. Last year, the company's exports surged by 36% to US$275m, he said.

Speaking about the whole industry, Jabbar argued good planning, new technology and professionalism have helped the US$22bn industry survive through the political unrest sparked by the 5 January elections.

Shipments of knitted and woven items earned Bangladesh exporters US$16bn in the eight months to February of the current financial year, according to the government's Export Promotion Bureau, with exports of knitted products growing 17.5%, while woven products grew 15.92%.

Mahiuddin Faruqui, a vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said knitwear manufacturers are set to exceed 2014 export targets.

"We're hopeful - not worried - even when Myanmar emerges as a rival," he told just-style. Faruqui also owns Multifabs Ltd, which turns over more than US$50m annually.

However, Md Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that while there was growth, "buyers have already stopped placing orders in factories running on shared buildings, although they pledged not to pull out in [the next] two years," he said.

He noted that while the industry may hit its 2014 export targets, growth is not "remarkable" enough to hit a touted US$42bn mark by 2020. February year-on-year growth in exports was 9.74%; it was 7.09% in January.