Bangladesh, the world's largest garment exporter, wants to enter the Indian market, which was opened up some years back by removing all tariffs on Dhaka's manufactures. Moreover, with Western buyers increasingly demanding higher labour and safety standards, besides lower prices, Dhaka has long been eyeing the Indian market.
A group of Bangladeshi industrialists intend to set up a 1,000-store retail chain in India to sell apparel produced by the neighbour's $24-billion readymade garment industry. Their aim is to turn into a billion dollar retail chain within five years.
Matlub Ahmad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the Bangldeshi top businessmen want to set up a firm in India and invest $25 million in the retail chain along with a nodal logistics hub from where the garments will be distributed.
Ahmad, whose Nitol Niloy Group assembles vehicles for the Tatas among other businesses, and his colleagues, including Atiqul Islam, chief of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last evening to get the latter's support for the plan.
Bangladesh exports to India account for just 2 percent of its worldwide sales. Garment manufacturing costs in Bangladesh are 60 percent less than in India, according to the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, a lobby group based in Delhi. This could give Bangladesh an advantage in the $50-billion Indian ready-to-wear apparel market. The Indian apparel market accounts for 5 percent of the global market and is expected to grow to 7 percent, valued at $124 billion, by 2020.
Bangladesh garment makers supply to big brands such as Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Tesco, Sears, and C&A.
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