The country’s export earnings shot up to $8.66 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, a 7.23% up compared to $8.07 billion of the corresponding period last year.
However, in the last month alone export earnings fell by 9.83% to $2.03 billion compared to $2.25 billion in the same period last year. The earnings are 26.72% less than the target of $2.77 billion set for the month.
Trade analysts and officials cited holidays during the Eid-ul-Azha as a reason for the fall in the earnings.
According to the latest data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earnings in the first quarter are 2.84% less than the target of $8.91 billion set for the period.
The data reveals that the RMG sector earned $7.14 billion, which is 7.17% higher compared to $6.66 billion in the same period a year ago.
Knitwear products earned $3.75 billion, a 10.18% up, and woven garments earned $3.39 billion, a 4.04% up compared to $3.26 billion in the corresponding period last year.
“Growth is always anticipated. But at the current rates, we are unlikely to meet the EPB export goals and the country’s $50 billion target for RMG exports by 2021,” said Shahidullah Azim, former vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The RMG sector has to register a 13% growth in order to reach its $50 billion target and over 11% for the EPB’s overall target of $38.5 billion for the current fiscal year, he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Azim said Bangladeshi manufacturers are losing their competitive advantage in non-traditional markets due to higher rates of tax on imported goods, on the one hand, and their production costs went up due to remediation costs and hike in prices of gas and electricity, on the other.
Turkey increased import duty to 42% from 17%. As a result Bangladesh’s exports to the country have fallen. But exports to Chile have increased as it provides duty free market access, he said.
To secure more orders from foreign buyers for RMG products, the government should start negotiations immediately to get duty free market access to non-traditional markets and reduce the existing duty rates there, he stressed.
Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said: “Our export industry is undergoing a critical moment. Since Bangladesh is slowly moving towards its $60 billion export target (by 2021), there must be a monetary policy for the industry to remain combative in global markets.”
Also, the government should concentrate on reducing transportation costs, ensuring better infrastructural facilities and take initiatives to build deep-sea ports.
Export earnings from jute and jute products rose by 15.46% to $236 million, which was $204.50 million a year ago.
With $193.70 billion earnings, home textiles saw a 23.81% rise in their total export earnings, while earnings from frozen food increased by 23%, leather and leather goods by 1.74%, and agricultural products by 21%.
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