Furniture makers on Saturday demanded withdrawal of high duty on the import of the raw materials and claimed that the sector was losing its competitiveness in the global market due to high tariff structure on raw material import.
The government offers 15 per cent cash incentive against exports of furniture but the amount could not make the exporters competitive as they had to pay up to 104 per cent duty on raw materials, said Selim H Rahman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners’ Association, at a news conference to give details on their preparedness for Bangladesh Furniture and Interior Decor Exposition 2018 to be inaugurated at Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau office in Dhaka.
Selim, also the managing director of Hatil Furniture, said China has been shifting from furniture business to high-tech businesses due to higher production cost and hence Bangladesh could take the advantage to become a strong furniture exporting country if the government provides proper policy support.
He said Vietnam and Indonesia had already started taking benefits from the reducing influence of China in global furniture market.
The four-day BFID Expo begins in Dhaka today with an aim to showcase the strength of the country’s furniture market and home furnishing sectors before the global and local buyers.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed is expected to inaugurate the event at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka.
The Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, the Furniture Exporters’ Association, the Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Jute Diversified Products Manufactures and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners’ Association in collaboration with the Jute Diversification Promotion Centre jointly organises the expo.
The EPB vice-chairman Bijoy Bhattacharjee said they were going to arrange the expo with the private sector for the fifth time in an aim to showcase the world class products before the buyers, especially the foreign ones.
BFEA president KM Akhtaruzzam urged the government to procure local furniture for Bangladesh embassies and missions in abroad.
He said that the domestic market size of furniture is more than Tk 18,000 crore and 90per cent of the demands are met by the local manufacturers.
Akhter said that the use of furniture made by alternative wood is being increased and it stood 50 per cent of total local demand.
The EPB vice-chairman said that the government should consider the duty structure on import of raw materials as it is difficult for the exports to remain competitive after paying up to 100 per cent duty.
‘I think the wood import process should be more simplified as furniture makes use imported wood it would help us to save our trees and forestry,’ he said.
According to the EPB data, export earnings from furniture in the financial year 2016-17 stood $ 49.79 million while the earnings home décor amounted $1.43 billion in the period.
Organisers said a total of 19 companies, including 10 furniture and 9 home décor, are taking part in the four-day expo.
JDPC executive director Rina Parveen, EPB director General Avijit Chowdhury and EPB director Md Abdur Rouf, among others, were present.
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