Leather sector should capitalise China business shifting: seminar

Can fetch $16b a year in a decade

Staff Correspondent
Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu attends as chief guest a seminar on ‘Environment-friendly leather industry in Bangladesh: roadmap to competitiveness and sustainability’ at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital on Sunday. Commerce minister Tofail  Ahmed and environment minister Anwar Hossain Manju are also seen, among  others. — Focusbangla photo

Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu attends as chief guest a seminar on ‘Environment-friendly leather industry in Bangladesh: roadmap to competitiveness and sustainability’ at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital on Sunday. Commerce minister Tofail
Ahmed and environment minister Anwar Hossain Manju are also seen, among
others. — Focusbangla photo

Bangladesh should capitalise business shifting of Chinese leather industry which could increase manifold the export earning from the sector, said speakers at a seminar in Dhaka on Sunday.
If Bangladesh can attract merely 10 per cent of business shifting from China, its yearly export earning from the leather sector will hit $16 billion in the next decade, they said.
The export earnings from leather sector in July-April period of the current financial year 2013-14 amounted to $1.06 billion against $980 million in the same period of the FY13.
Leather goods manufacturers in the seminar pointed out that the lack of coordination between public and private initiatives to implement eco-friendly leather industry was one of the key challenges on the way of sustainable business.
The Export Promotion Bureau organised the seminar on ‘Environment-friendly leather industry in Bangladesh: roadmap to competitiveness and sustainability’ at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital.
As the largest leather goods producing country in the world China meets 35 per cent of total global demands but against the backdrop of increasing living cost and workers’ wages the country is now willing to relocate its production to other countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Pakistan and Myanmar, the speakers said.
‘A bright future is waiting for Bangladesh leather sector as we have duty-free market access to most of the developed countries but the sector has to face challenges due to lack of central effluent treatment plant,’ Aniruddah Kumar Roy, managing director of RMM Leather Industries Ltd, said in his keynote paper.
He stressed on complying with the international standards and building a brand image ‘Eco Friendly Leather from Bangladesh’.
International embargo regarding environment issue might affect the turnover of the country as the EU warned that it would not import leather from Bangladesh if the sector failed to relocate tanners from Hazaribag to Savar with CETP, he said.
In the keynote paper Aniruddah suggested for relocation of tanneries to Saver in phases and ensuring accommodation for the workers in the area.
He demanded that a National Leather Development Board be formed and a modern industrial park including shoe and leather goods design institute be developed for the sustainability of the sector.
According to the EPB data, leather exports in 10 months grew by 33.90 per cent to $424.05 million from $316.70 million.
Footwear exports rose by 30.24 per cent to $443.54 million and exports of leather products increased by 70.14 per cent to $197.36 million.
‘The construction of CETP is progressing and we hope the relocation of tanneries to the new industrial zone will start within short time,’ said industries minister Amir Hossain Amu.
He said the government wanted to make the lather industry compliant so that the international community could not raise any question about the workers’ rights and safety.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed urged manufacturers to come forward to make the lather industry complaint and said like on the readymade garment industry global buyers might put pressure on the leather sector regarding its health and environment issues.
Environment minister Anwar Hossain Manju said, ‘We have huge potential in our domestic market as the country has 160 million populations.’
Lawmaker Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed and EPB vice-chairmen Shuvashish Bose, among others, attended the programme.

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