Batexpo draws lower buyers, spot orders for ‘political instability’

The 23rd edition of the biggest apparel show -- Batexpo – saw a lower participation of foreign buyers, buyers representatives, visitors and spot orders due to political instability coupled with a countrywide shutdown during the three-day show.

“We couldn’t achieve our goal fully due to political instability and hartal…but we’re not that much frustrated since we got new buyers, mostly from China and Japan,” President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters at a press conference.

The BGMEA arranged the press conference at its conference room to share the outcome of the just-concluded Batexpo (Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition-2012) with the media. BGMEA second vice president M Siddiqur Rahman was, among others, present.

Mohiuddin said the new foreign buyers who came from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Latin America, Japan and China have showed their high interest in Bangladeshi apparels. “At the same time they voiced concern over the prevailing political instability.”

He said the spot and market lot orders went down this year compared to the previous year. “In the last apparel show, the total spot orders were US$ 66.35 million and it came down to US$ 61.67 million this time.”

Meanwhile, the number of visitors also saw a downtrend with only 13,180 visiting the show against the total visitors of 15,690 last year, the BGMEA chief said.

A total of 159 buyers and 2846 buyers’ representatives – from the USA, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Germany, Australia, Spain, Russia, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, France, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Greece, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Portugal, Korea, the UAE, Egypt, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Uruguay and others countries – visited the Batexpo this year.

The number of foreign buyers and buyers’ representatives was 175 and 3015 respectively.

The BGMEA president said a 10-member business delegation from China had talks with the Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers. “China is a prospective market for Bangladesh. We hope our export to China will get a boost next year.”

The foreign buyers suggested the BGMEA to arrange the show twice a year. “We’re considering the proposal,” Mohiuddin said.

He said the demand for Bangladeshi apparels is on the rise in the global market. “If we get policy support and infrastructural support, we’ll be able to export RMG worth US$ 30 billion by 2015.”

Responding to a query on trade unionism, the BGMEA chief said they are progressing with a positive mentality to that end and ”…we’ve already engaged with ILO in this regard.”

The BGMEA leader reiterated their demand for a separate ministry for the country’s highest export earnings sector. “We’ve the Ministry of Textiles and Jute though jute industry has lost its glory…we want a focal ministry for the RMG industry to get rid of bureaucratic tangles,” Mohiuddin said.

The 23rd Batexpo began on December 12 with a high hope of higher foreign buyers’ participation despite the recent campaign abroad highlighting the country’s RMG sector’s weaknesses.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Batexpo-2012 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre while BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia attended the closing session as the chief guest.

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