Bangladesh's exports to China in the recent years has been growing steadily which the trade circle consider that it might become a major turning point in boosting exports to one of the most lucrative global destinations. Although the volume is still far from satisfactory, it is the incremental pattern that promises faster growth. The volume of exports to China has shot up more than four times in the past four years.
Currently, Bangladesh enjoys duty-free and quota-free access for 4,788 products to the Chinese market, accounting for around 67 per cent of the country's export products. Major items in the list include readymade garments and textiles, leather and leather goods, jute and jute-yarn.
The key to the opening up of Chinese market to a more desirable extent in the near future is likely to come in the form of a surge in the export of garment items. China is otherwise the world leader in textile and garment products, catering alone for more than 30 per cent of global needs.
But presently its supremacy is loaded with difficulties from a steep rise in wage structure across the sectors, of which textiles is the most prominent. This has led the Chinese manufacturers in textile sector to focus more on exports than domestic demands which, given the population size, are mammoth and ever soaring. Chinese domestic apparel market is estimated at well over $300 billion annually. Meeting a small portion of its domestic demand, even at the low end, would mean a massive boost for Bangladesh's export.
Although a good deal of the current success of Bangladesh's exports to China is attributable to zero duty, observers tend to view Bangladesh's narrow supply base as a deterrent to sustaining the growth. It is here that apparel items can play a remarkable role. However, one must not ignore the fact that undiversified product-range and supply-side constraint will figure as impeding factors for Bangladesh's exports.
Readymade garments have been the country's lead export earner since its exports began to post progressive growth. The current trend of exports to China shows that Bangladesh's garment items have already begun to signal their growth potential. After European Union (EU) and the USA, Chinese market likely to be the third major destination of Bangladesh garments.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data exports have leaped to $746.18 million in the just concluded fiscal year (FY), 2013-14, from a meager $178.63 million in FY 2009-10. This has been facilitated for the most part by duty-free treatment of a bulk of Bangladesh's export products. The growth trend is likely to grow manifold with increased export penetration of the Chinese domestic market.
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