Dhaka, Saturday, 12 June 2021

Increasing income in non-traditional products

Increasing income in non-traditional products

Apparel Correspondent: Once upon a time, jute, the golden fiber of Bangladesh, was the most important cash crop and exporting product of the country. Now the readymade garment (RMG) has become a top sector for earning foreign currencies. Besides RMG there are many non-traditional products in the country’s export list.

The export income from these products is also satisfactory. But the country's export sector was hit hard by the decline in global demand for coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Though the exports of RMG and leather goods faced difficulties, some non-traditional products maintained positive growth in exports in the pandemic.

Lockdowns, factory closures and even cancellation of buyers' orders could not hinder of the export of non-traditional items. 750 products of the country are being exported regularly. However, during the pandemic, some non-traditional products have increased the income in the export sector as brand new items. These products include pharmaceuticals, fruits, jute and jute products, raw jute, vegetables, shoes (excluding leather), furniture, carpets, jute yarn and twine, golf, tobacco, ships, tea, handicrafts, ash and others. By exporting these items, the revenue in the last financial year was about 250 crore dollars.

Besides these, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), face masks, gloves, gowns, medical equipment and other types of health-protective products have added variety in export items. The demand for these products in the global market is now at its peak.

The government is thinking of bringing these non-traditional products under cash incentives.The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) recently submitted 21 proposals to the Ministry of Commerce to provide cash incentives for these products. According to the EPB, 750 products are being exported now. Of these, 600 products get facilities from the government.

Export earnings statistics for the fiscal year 2019-20 show that pharma export has been grown by about 4.5 percent while shoes (excluding leather) by 2.6 percent, handicrafts by 2.86 percent, jute and jute products by 10 percent, raw jute by 15.48 percent, tea exports by 10.64 percent, carpets 8.41 percent and engineering equipment by 26 percent.

Besides, jute yarn and twine products by 10.12 percent, golf products by 20 percent, copper by 26.89 percent, ships by 139 percent, fruit exports by 48 percent, vegetable exports by 64.53 percent and ash exports by 64.53 percent.

Regarding the exports, Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Bangladesh Exporters Association (EAB), said Bangladesh's traditional export products are growing again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The non-traditional export products are also doing quite well. The good news is that when the world is in turmoil for the pandemic, the demand for non-traditional products of Bangladesh is increasing in the global market. According to the EPB data, the export income from these products in the last financial year was 166 crore 72 lakh dollars.

Among these, 13 crore 57 lakh dollars was earned on medicines, 88 crore 23 lakh dollars on jute and jute products, 12 crore 98 lakh dollars on raw jute, 27 crore 71 lakh dollars on footwear (excluding leather) products, 7 crore 64 lakh dollars on furniture, 2 crore dollars on handicrafts, 31.20 lakh dollars on tea, 6 crore 64 lakh dollars on engineering equipment, 2 crore 11 lakh dollars on carpet, 56 crore 42 lakh on jute yarn and twine, 1 crore 39 lakh dollars on golf, 1 crore 13 lakh dollars on ships, 16 crore 40 lakh dollars on vegetables and 1 crore 52 lakh dollars in ash exports.

Health protective products export The coronavirus situation has also brought some prospects to the export sector. Some new health-protective products like face masks, gloves, disinfectant remote control UV-C systems, ventilators or oxygen supplements, face protective shields, safety goggles, hand sanitizers, thermometers and others have been added to the export list. The demand for these products has grown significantly as a result of increasing their use.

At present, 33 factories in Dhaka’Savar and Gazipur are producing world-class PPEs and facial masks. According to the EPB, Bangladesh exported a total of $11.57 million worth of masks, gloves and PPE from July last year to November 2020.

These products were also exported in huge quantities last month. Beximco pharmaceuticals recently exported 65 lakh medical gowns to the US. The company also has a target of exporting at least $250 million worth of protective equipment this year.

Diversification is coming in new products exports!

Besides PPE, some companies are producing medical equipment and other items. The notable companies are Walton, Minister, Square and ACI. Also, another company has recently announced that their product named ‘corona-destroying fabrics’ could protect from the coronavirus infection.

Obaidul Azam, Additional Secretary (Exports), Ministry of Commerce, said, there is a possibility of huge exports through these new products in the world market. In this context, protective equipment, medical equipment, corona-destroying fabrics can be considered as new additions to the export list of the country. The demand for such products will continue for the next year.

New products coming under the incentive Coronavirus has created a negative impact on the world economy especially in Europe and the US.

To maintain the growth in the world market, the government is thinking of increasing cash incentives for traditional as well as other products. The Ministry of Commerce has also come up with short and long term plans on how to work for sustainable exports.