OCP FINAL REPORT (2)_edited

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Scope of Knitwear Garments in Bangladesh until 2020 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY This report is prepared to serve the following objectives: • • • • •

To know about the knitwear garments industry To know about the present status of knitwear garments in Bangladesh Prospects of knitwear garments in Bangladesh Future status of knitwear garments in Bangladesh Competitiveness of knitwear garments in international markets

METHODOLOGY Research Methodology Research Design: A qualitative research has been used to conduct the study. Focus Group questionnaire were formulated for collecting data. As the time was limited to complete this report, it was not possible to conduct a descriptive research to collect the primary data. Sources of data: To carry out the proposed study data has been collected from two sources; Primary and Secondary sources. Primary data: Primary data for this study has been collected through Focus Group questionnaire, which is combined of both open and close ended questions. Several ways of collecting data have been used like, face to face interview with the experts, questionnaire survey etc. Secondary data: Secondary data are of two kinds, Internal and external. Internal secondary data has been collected from its broachers. External secondary data gathered from various articles, magazines and internet. Tools for data collection: The major tool for data collection was the Focus Group Discussion that includes simple, straightforward, open and open discussion. The data collection instrument was Xerox copy with the different matters at the time of the survey. Sampling plan The outlined sampling plan is given belowTarget Population: The target population for the study has been Taken are the officials of BGMEA, High profile executives & managers of some industries. Research Instrument Focus Group Questionnaire with related factors to get actual answers and find out the result of the research. Survey Method Random sampling method is my survey method because it is easy and similar to research. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY


In preparing this OCP report I have faced the following problems, which I consider the limitation of the study. Resource Constraints The study requires a good number of experience personnel to accomplish such an intensive research but only one member does it as it was the requirement. Several organizational reports, data and information were necessary which were not available to the researcher. The data and information in a greater extent have not been got in the up to date and proper form. In this case for preparing the report, poor secondary data has been used. Time constraints Given time for the research was 8 weeks. During this period the researcher had to accomplish some other works which eaten up the time for research work. Budget/Fund constraints For preparing this report budget is a factor. The fund is not sufficient for preparing this report. Bangladesh Knitwear: Facts & Figures Export earnings: US$ 2051.30 million up to March 2004-05 (2nd largest sector) Share of Export earnings: 38.12% Net Retention Amount: US$ 1230.78 million Net retention rate: 60% Value addition: 75% Share in net export: 32% (Highest) Quantity exported: 87.40 million dozen (Top sector) Labor force employed: Direct: 0.70 million; about 70% of them are women. Indirect: 0.40 million

History of Development of Knitwear of Bangladesh The RMG business started in Bangladesh in the 70s but it was then merely a casual effort. The first consignment of knitwear export was made in 1973 and the first consignment of woven garments was made in 1977. Though started later, but it was the woven sector that first dint a spot in the


export pie of Bangladesh. In 1981-82 the contribution of woven garments in the total export was 1.10%. Afterwards it is a story of sustained success for the Bangladesh RMG sector. Within a decade the contribution of woven to the export basket became 42.83% (1990-91) and the knitwear sector's contribution was 7.64% (1990-91).

Graph 1: Changes in combination of Export Products over time

The entrepreneurs of the knit sector stepped forward with their expertise in the late 80's. With their earnest efforts they were able to export US$ 14.84 million in 1989-90. Out of this US$ 12.22 million was exported to EU and US$ 2.02 million was exported to US. The trend continued in the knit sector because of the market access opportunity provided to the LDCs under the Generalized Systems of Preference (GSP) benefit. This is the rejuvenated beginning of the epic story of Bangladeshi knitwear sector RMG sector that in true sense has been able to massive industrialization in a sustainable way with effect on all probable human development aspects which is the encouraging part of the story. The growth of knitwear sector is increasing at an increasing rate. The cumulative average growth rate of the sector is 27%. And it is continuously grabbing a more portion in the export pie of Bangladesh. This is mainly attributed to the facilities provided under the EC GSP and ROO. The knitwear sector is heavily driven by these favorable policies and took the opportunity to develop a strong backward linkage for the sector. Table 1: Comparative Statistics of Knit Wear & Woven Wear Volume in Million US$ Year

Knitwear Volume

89-90

14.84

90-91

131.20

Woven Wear

% Share change in BD Export

Total Export

Volume

% change

Share in BD Export

RMG

Bangladesh

0

0.77

609.32

29.34

31.67

624.16

1923.70

784.00

7.64

735.62

20.73

42.83

866.82

1717.55

91-92

118.57

-9.62

5.95

1064.00

44.64

53.36

1182.57

1993.90

92-93

204.55

72.51

8.58

1240.48

16.59

52.06

1445.03

2382.89

93-94

264.14

29.13

10.42

1291.64

4.12

50.97

1555.78

2533.90

94-95

393.26

48.88

11.32

1835.09

42.07

52.85

2228.35

3472.56

95-96

598.32

52.14

15.41

1948.81

6.20

50.20

2547.13

3882.42

96-97

763.30

27.57

17.28

2237.95

14.84

50.65

3001.25

4418.28


97-98

940.31

23.19

18.22

2843.33

27.05

55.09

3783.64

5161.20

98-99

1035.36

10.11

19.49

2984.81

4.98

56.18

4020.17

5312.86

99-00

1269.83

22.64

22.08

3082.56

3.27

53.59

4352.39

5752.20

00-01

1496.23

17.83

23.14

3364.20

9.14

52.02

4860.43

6467.30

01-02

1459.24

-2.48

24.38

3124.56

-7.12

52.20

4583.80

5986.09

02-03

1653.83

13.34

25.26

3258.27

4.28

49.76

4912.10

6548.44

03-04

2148.02

29.88

28.25

3538.07

8.59

46.54

5686.09

7602.99

04-05 (up to March)

2051.30

38.12

33.64

2676.84

3.77

43.90

4728.14

6097.12

Source: Export Promotion Bureau EU is the main export region of Bangladeshi Knitwear constituting 83% (US$ 1780.57 million) of total knitwear export in FY 2003-2004 followed by USA (11%, i.e. US$ 236.79 million). This has become possible because it can satisfy the ROO of EU as value addition is higher (75%) in this sector. After the adoption of the guidelines for the application of the scheme of generalized tariff preferences by EC knitwear export from Bangladesh to EU rose precipitously. The twostage transformation requirement of ROO in 1999 boosted market penetration in EU further; it contributed a growth of 101.19% since 2000-2001.

Graph 2: Knitwear Export to Major Markets Bangladesh RMG sector has successfully passed some critical tests and is now sailing with two masts: knit and woven. The sub-sectors are now in healthy competition among themselves to take the role of leadership within the country In FY 2003-04, knitwear for the first time exceeded woven wear and became the leader in terns of quantity exported with 91.6 million dozens. The amount of woven export was 90.49 million dozens. Knitwear is still leading in terms of quantity exported and is widening the gap day by day. The present difference in favor of knitwear is 18.85 million dozens In FY 2003-04, the contribution of two RMG subsectors were as follows:


Graph 3: Comparison of Export Quantity Woven Garments 47% and Knitwear 28%. In a period of just 9 months (up to March FY 2004-05) the figures have changed dramatically, the share of woven garment to the country's export has reduced to 43.90%, on the other hand the share knitwear has increased to 33.64%. It indicates clearly that the knitwear is performing well in both ways. In the first 9 months of FY 2004-05 the scenario is as under: Knitwear export increased by US$ 566.15 National export increased by US$ 676.19 Therefore, the contribution of knitwear in national export increase is 83.73% Contribution of the RMG Sector in Bangladesh In the development history of Bangladesh, RMG sector contributed a lot in terms of employment generation, involving women in the formal sector, increased substantial export earnings etc. One significant aspect of the RMG's contribution in the development is the human development aspect. The sector contributed a lot in the following areas: • Women empowerment •

Gender equality

Improved health & nutrition

Reduced child marriage

Reduced infant mortality

The development in the sector also contributed a lot in the growth and development of the backward linkage industry of the country. Strength of Knitwear Sector of Bangladesh Competitive wage rate together with easily trainable workforce, entrepreneurial skill, expanding supply side capacity, and government policy support helped to translate the comparative advantages into competitive advantages. The core strength of the knitwear sector is its backward linkage. The entrepreneurs of the sector not only increased their stitching capacity overtime but also invested in the allied industry to augment the overall capacity of the total sector with the same pace. Over the period knitwear sector gradually became almost self sufficient in fabric and yarn. This improvement has become possible because of the integrated growth of spinning factories in line of the growth of country's stitching capacity and increased need of the yarn and fabric.


As the export increased in the knitwear sector, the capacity of backward linkage also gradually increased accordingly. The result is local suppliers can provide 90% of the total fabric requirement of the sector. The growth of spinning mills also stepped with the growth of knitwear exports. In 1993-94, total number of spindles was 1.38 million that supplied 10.70 million KG yarn. In 2003-04, the number almost tripled and it became 3.77 million that supplies 239.00 million KG yarn. As of now the total investment in the backward linkage industry is more than US$ 2.00 billion. Graph 4: Comparative Consumption & Local Supply of Fabric & Yarn Comparative Structure of Gross & Net Exports of Bangladesh (FY 2003-04)

Graph 5: Structure of Gross Export

Graph 6: Structure of Net Export

Though woven is the highest contributor (47%) in terms of gross export, but knit becomes the most significant component if we consider net export with a share of 32%. This has resulted because of the backward linkage industry that has grown over time which helped the knitwear sector to have the higher value addition and there fore a much higher net retention rate. Year

1994

2000

2004

Value Addition:

50%

70%

75%

Net Retention:

40%

55%

60%


Table 2: Year wise knitwear export and net retention Year Total Export Net Retention 94-95 393.26 157.30 95-96 598.32 253.69 96-97 763.30 335.85 97-98 940.31 443.83 98-99 1035.36 530.10 99-00 1269.83 695.87 00-01 1496.23 837.89 01-02 1459.24 828.85 02-03 1653.83 965.84 03-04 2148.02 1271.63 04-05 2051.30 1230.78 (up to March) Graph 7: Year wise knitwear export and net retention

Advantages of Bangladeshi Knitwear Sector √

Knitwear is a near self-sufficient sector in all respect; currently Bangladeshi Knitwear manufacturing companies are supplying 90% of the knit fabric requirements of the sector.

Local yarn suppliers provide around 75% of the total requirement of the sector.

We have more than 100 composite factories; besides the composite units, many garments have their own dying and finishing units. A separate dying and finishing industry also has grown up over the time to support the sector.

Good capacity exists in the sector.

Bangladeshi knitwear is almost unbeatable in price advantages.

Bangladesh provides not only a cheap labor force, which is unbeatable, but they are also unparallel in stitching capability.

Bangladeshi Knitwear is exported to 90 countries of the world.

Cost of Some Key Production Factors¹ 1.

2.

The labor costs² incurred in the Textile Industry is the lowest compared to its competitors. Thailand: $1.00/Hour

India: $0.60/Hour

Indonesia: $0.40/Hour

Sri Lanka: $0.45/Hour

Vietnam: $0.40/Hour

Pakistan: $0.40/Hour

China: $0.35/Hour

Bangladesh: $0.25/Hour

Energy cost³ in Bangladesh is lower compared to India and Pakistan Pakistan: $0.08/KwH

India: $0.095/ KwH

Bangladesh: $0.07/ KwH


I. Introduction Bangladesh had a historical reputation in production of textile products in addition to famous Dhaka muslin. Fabrics from Bengal were found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and were traded with the Roman and Chinese empires in the medieval age. In ancient Bengal, a great deal of expertise existed about weaving of textile products as well as great reverence towards its trade. In rural communities, both men and women were apprenticed in weaving. These skills and disciplines in sewing and weaving are passed down through generations and are quickly transferred to production lines in modern knitwear factories. In the early 1980s, there were small-scale independent investments in the readymade garments (RMG) sector. At that time, it was not considered viable and received very little government attention. Within a decade, the RMG industry in Bangladesh had flourished and by the early 1990s it had emerged as a major employer. Under the dynamic leadership of the private sector together with policy support from the government, the export oriented RMG Industry has shown a spectacular growth during the last two and a half decades. The textile sector initially could not keep pace with the requirement of yarn and fabrics particularly by the woven RMG sector as the textile and clothing industry was controlled by a fairly small community of local entrepreneurs. However, the sector grew with vengeance and the country currently exports over US$11 billion in textiles and garments, with a projected target of US$24 billion dollars by 2020. II. Development of Knitwear Production in Bangladesh That knitwear manufacturing activities in Bangladesh have spatiality is evident from the unevenly distribution of these activities over several pockets in the country. However, there is a large concentration of these activities in Narayanganj. Economic history can shed lights behind this geographic concentration of interconnected businesses emerged in the area. Narayanganj is a town in central Bangladesh, 20 km southeast of Dhaka, the capital. The town was founded on the motive of being a center for trade and commerce by Mr. Bicon Lal Pandey, a Hindu religious leader by leasing in the area from the British East India Company in 1766 following the Battle of Plassey to form a market place. He later donated the market and other lands on the banks of the river as Devottor. In its early stages geographical location of Narayanganj posed a competitive attraction in terms of communications for entrepreneurs as it was flanked by rivers, the Shitalakshya on the east and the Buriganga on the south and southwest. Gradually it became the most prominent river port of Bengal and then Bangladesh with regular steam communication with Sylhet, Kolkata, Assam, and Kachar of India. The port used to handle an extensive trade with Kolkata, importing cloth, and salt, etc., and exporting agricultural produce of all kinds, especially jute. The port had also substantial trade with Chittagong, importing cotton, timber, oil, hides, etc., and exporting tobacco, pottery, and country produce, etc. Historically this region has very renowned heritage regarding manufacturing of fine clothes. John Crawford, a long time servant of the East India Company, stated to a Committee of the British House of Commons in 183031that the fine variety of cotton in the neighborhood of Dhaka, from which the fine muslins were produced, was cultivated by the natives alone and was not at all known in the English market, or even in Calcutta. The Dhakeshwari Cotton Mill at Narayanganj, established by some Mr. Surya Kumar Bose on the bank of the Shitalakshya in 1927, was the first textile mill in the whole of the British East Bengal. The Chittaranjan Cotton Mill was established in 1929. Some Mr. Ramesh Chandra Roy Chowdhury established the Laxmi Narayan Cotton Mill in 1932. The Dhakeshwari owner opened a second cotton mill in 1937. Narayanganj is also the principal hosiery manufacturing center of Bangladesh. The first hosiery factory, Hangsha Hosiery, was established in 1921 by some Mr. Shatish Chandra Pal in 1921. The factory started its operations at Tanbazar with four hand-driven ribbons machines. A major factor that promoted the expansion of hosiery industry at Narayanganj is its location on the bank of the Shitalakshya, which facilitated transportation of raw materials and the finished products and supplied good quality water to wash knitted clothes. At present, Narayanganj is one of the main centers for the knitwear garments industries.


III. Evolution of Knitwear Exports The RMG business was initiated with the export of knitwear consignment in 1973. Eventually the RMG sector accelerated exports dominated by woven garments. The knitwear sector’s significant contribution in country’s export share was 1.1% in FY 82. Since then it gradually increased its share in exports. While the contribution of woven garments to the export basket was 42.8% in FY 91, the knitwear sector’s contribution rose to 7.6%. Table 1 presents export performance and the extent of retention rate due to high contents of domestic inputs. In FY 04, knitwear sector for the first time exceeded woven sector and became the leader with an exported quantity of 91.6 million dozens. The sector continues to be the leader in terms of quantity exported with an increasing gap with the woven garments over time. Export quantity of knitwear items increased to 241.59 million dozens. This is roughly equal to 163.7% growth between FY 04 and FY 08. At present knitwear is the largest export earning sector of Bangladesh contributing 41.8% to national export earnings at the end of FY 09 (July-April). Table : Total Knitwear Exports and Net Retention in Bangladesh Exports (US $ million) Share of Net Retention Share of Year Total RMG Knitwear Knitwear (%) (US $ million) Net Retention (%) 1994-95 1850.3 393.3 21.3 157.3 40.0 1995-96 2006.6 598.3 29.8 253.7 42.4 1996-97 2316.9 763.3 33.0 335.9 44.0 1997-98 2775.4 940.3 33.9 443.8 47.2 1998-99 2700.0 1035.4 38.4 530.1 51.2 1999-00 3125.4 1269.8 40.6 695.9 54.8 2000-01 3755.6 1496.2 39.8 837.9 56.0 2001-02 3355.4 1459.2 43.5 826.9 56.7 2002-03 3601.4 1653.8 45.9 965.8 58.4 2003-04 4443.3 2148.0 48.3 1271.6 59.2 2004-05 5429.7 2819.5 51.9 1691.7 60.0 2005-06 6041.9 3817.0 63.2 2290.2 60.0 2006-07 7517.2 4553.6 60.6 2732.2 60.0 2007-08 8322.2 5532.5 66.5 3319.5 60.0 Bangladeshi RMG products are mainly destined to the US and the EU markets. With their earnest efforts from late 1980s the RMG exporters were able to export US$ 393.26 million in FY 95. Of this amount, the shares of the EU and the USA were US$ 274 million and US$ 98 million respectively. During FY 97, Bangladesh was the 7th and the 5th largest apparel exporter to the US and EU markets respectively. The cumulative average growth rate of the sector is about 20%. In recent years the EU market was the main export market for Bangladeshi knitwear constituting 76% (US$ 4.2 billion) of total knitwear export followed by the USA (14.59%, i.e. US$ 807 million) in the year FY 08. The impressive growth of the knitwear in the EU market was partly due the market access opportunities provided under the Generalized Systems of Preference (GSP)


facility. Further, the two-stage transformation requirement of the rules of origin (ROO) introduced in 1999 accelerated market penetration and deepened it in the EU. Since Bangladesh’s knitwear production has very high domestic content of inputs and value added (around 80%) it is estimated that 95% of knitwear exports to the EU enter free of duty under the EBA initiative, thereby contributing to very rapid growth of Bangladesh’s exports of knitwear. Despite all these successes a recent WTO review points out that Bangladesh has not been able to exploit fully the duty free access to EU that it enjoys. This is an indication of untapped potential of capacity in this sector. In the year FY 08, the contribution of woven garments to the export earnings was 36.2% compared to 39% in the knitwear sector Table : Recent Export Performance of the Knitwear Sector in Bangladesh Exports of RMG in the Last Half of FY 09 (in Million USD) Monthly Growth Rate Compared to Last Year (%) Month Woven Knit Total January 584.2 562.9 1147.18 February 532.8 466.7 999.51 March 541.9 480.3 1022.23 April 437.8 480.4 918.19 May 493.4 578.6 1072 June 522.6 619.4 1142.02

Month Woven Knit Total January 18.7 21.2 19.9 February 11.5 2.6 7.1 March 12.7 8.2 10.5 April 5.4 0.3 2.7 May 11.7 7.9 9.6 June -3.2 2.7 -0.1

However, the strong resilience of this sector is very much evident as already Bangladesh registered a 12.5% export growth in woven products and 25.9% export growth in knit products to the US market at a time when US imports of these items actually shrank by 3.6 and 1.6%. Overall exports to the US grew by 13.6% in the face of a mere 2% growth in total US imports over the July-December, 2008 period. This implies that Bangladesh has been increasing its RMG market share in the US apparel market despite the recession. However, Bangladesh has been facing problems in the EU market. Its exports to the EU markets grew by 3.6% in JulyDecember 2008. IV. Capacity and Actual Production of Knitwear Firms Bangladesh’s entry into the “modern” textile trade is relatively new, but textile entrepreneurs have been able to quickly adapt to the nature of demands. The knitwear sector in Bangladesh is generating large efficiencies through operating as groups of spinning, fabric knitting, dyeing, finishing. In other words, knitwear firms are effectively operating as conglomerates, there by reaping many of the efficiencies of vertical integration in a sector where individual capital shares and firm size remain relatively small. Table 3 presents the targeted categorization of yarn and fabric production scenario for the year 2009. Table : Production Targets of Yarn and Fabrics in 2009 Type of textile processing unit Volume of yarn and fabrics to be produced in year 2009 Capacity per year per unit Spinning unit (25000 spindles/unit) 1075 million kg 4.6 million kg Weaving (120 shuttle less looms/unit) 2924 million meters 13 million meters Knitting and knit processing unit 523 million kg (3138 million meters) 1.75 million kg The major strength of the Bangladesh textile industry is the pool of motivated workers. The sector has created jobs for about 2.5 million people (Table 4) of which 70% are women originating mostly from rural areas. Due to a liberal cultural attitude towards women in the workforce, the RMG sector has transformed a traditionally male dominated society to one where women have an equal status as earners in the household.


The number of factories in the RMG sector increased in tandem from less than a thousand in FY 91 to about five thousands in FY 08. Competitive wage rate together with easily trainable workforce helps transform the comparative advantages into competitive advantage in this sector. Directly employed labor forces in the knitwear sector are 1 million and another 0.5 millions are indirectly employed. The major impetus behind the phenomenal growth of the knitwear sector is the labor intensity in the production process. As the BKMEA claims, there were more than 2000 thousand establishments in FY 95 which increased to about 5000 thousand in FY 08 implying 5.88% growth per annum. Employment of workers grew in tandem. There were 1.5 million workers in FY 95 which increased to 2.5 in FY 08 implying a growth of 5.62% per annum. Comparing the number of establishments and the number workers employed one can discern that average size of the firm did not change during the period. So, entry and attrition were more or less simultaneous during the period. Table: Number of Establishments, Employment, and Firm Size in the Knitwear Sector Year 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Number of Establishments 2182 2353 2503 2726 2963 3200 3480 3618 3760 3957 4107 4220 4490 4740

Employment (In million) 1.20 1.29 1.30 1.50 1.50 1.60 1.80 1.80 2.00 2.00 2.10 2.20 2.40 2.50

Employment per Firm 550 548 519 550 506 500 517 498 532 505 511 521 535 527

V. Organization and Growth: Firm Level Perspectives Sample Firms To gauge the development, structure, composition as well as opportunities and challenges of the knitwear sector a survey was conducted on a purposively selected sample of firms in Narayanganj. The other objective of the survey was to sketch a rough contour of differential value chain links across firm sizes. While choosing firms, it was ensured that the sample includes large, medium and small firms. In deciding size of a firm the number of workers employed was taken into consideration following the guidelines of the Small and Medium Enterprises Policy (SMEP) of the government. Eventually 15 firms were chosen with 4 from large category, 5 from medium category, and 6 from small category. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques were applied in the survey and formal manufacturing within the industry. Table : Exports of Different Knitwear Items (in US $ million) Growth pattern over the period Year T-Shirt Trousers Sweater Knitwear Total RMG 2002-03 642.62 643.66 578.38 13.34 7.16


2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

1062.11 1334.85 616.31 29.88 15.76 1349.71 1667.72 893.12 31.26 12.87 1781.51 2165.25 1042.61 35.38 23.11

Bangladesh has experienced some product diversification in its export of garments to the US market in recent years compared with the early 1990s. The top five products (coats, knit shirts and blouses, trousers, non-knit shirts and blouses, and undergarments) accounted for around 80% share of the total garment export earnings of Bangladesh from the US in 1990 which decreased to 58% in 2001. However, the country’s performance in upgrading its products is not significant with regard to the US market Bangladesh exported a total of 99 types of products in the textile and garment category to the US in 2005, but the contribution of most of the category was minimal. Knitwear garments from Bangladesh have gained remarkable access to the EU market during the period 19962005 because mix of RMG products exported from Bangladesh to the EU changed significantly. The top five product groups contributed to 76% of the total garment export earnings of Bangladesh from the EU in 1996, and that share increased to 82% in 2005. The share of shirts in total garment exports from Bangladesh to the EU has decreased, whereas the shares for overcoats, jackets, sweaters, suits and some other knitwear products have increased in recent years. These changes demonstrate that Bangladesh is achieving some level of product diversification in exporting garment products to the EU. less show the direction. Ratios of initial to milestone year reveal that large firms grow at a faster rate ostensibly due resource base effect. Sources of Finance Retained earnings are the single most source of financing for the knitwear firms. During FY 08 about 71.46% of the total finance (about Tk.195 million) originated from retained earnings or internal source. On average large firms retained Tk.35 million in FY 08. The rest were generated from other sources including bank loans and overdraft facilities. Only 3.08% of total fund was for used for new investment by the large firms in FY 08. Medium firms source about Tk.100 million a year and, bank loans are the prime sources of finance for medium firms which contribute to 49.26% of funds. Suppliers’ credit constituted 4.92% of funds and only 1.47% originates from family and friends; all of the funds were used for working capital and only 0.49% was used for new investment in FY 08. Small firms sourced Tk.20 million in FY 08; about 41% of total fund originated from retained earnings and 40% from banks and financial institutions. The rest originate from suppliers credit (15%) and family and friends (4%). Most of the funds sourced were used for working capital and only 5% was used for new investment in FY 08. Global recession might be one of the reasons for reluctance of the entrepreneurs towards new investment. Competitiveness and Efficiency Perceived by Firms Most of the large firms consider themselves as more competitive than their competitors. About three-fourth revealed this opinion and another two-thirds consider themselves as equally efficient as their next large firms. About 60% medium firms think that they are more efficient in intra-market segment competition and the rest consider themselves as equally efficient. The perception is quite different among small firms; only 30% firms think that they are equally efficient with their market competitors and the majority of the rest think that they are less efficient than their next large competitors. Perception of large and medium firms indicates that majority of these firms spend time and resources for innovative activities to gain cutting edge competition. They often do so without specific financial and managerial resources. Thus, they tend to undertake a significant amount of innovative activities in their design, production and sales departments rather than in form of R&D expenditure which often do not exist at all. Table : Number of Establishments, Employment, and Firm Size in the Knitwear Sector Year Number of Establishments Employment (in million) Employment per Firm


1994-95 2182 1.20 550 1995-96 2353 1.29 548 1996-97 2503 1.30 519 1997-98 2726 1.50 550 1998-99 2963 1.50 506 1999-00 3200 1.60 500 2000-01 3480 1.80 517 2001-02 3618 1.80 498 2002-03 3760 2.00 532 2003-04 3957 2.00 505 2004-05 4107 2.10 511 2005-06 4220 2.20 521 2006-07 4490 2.40 535 2007-08 4740 2.50 527 Table : Capacity of Different Components of the Knitwear Industry No of mills Installed machine capacity Unit Production capacity/year (in million) Spinning mills (public) 24 460000 Kg 40 Spinning mills (private, cotton) 312 8230104 Kg 1495 Spinning mills (private, synthetic yarn) 27 673276 Kg 180 Terry towel 72 1896 Meter Dyeing finishing 359 6755 Eqv Meter 6084 Sweater 607 306848 Pcs 6568 Knitwear 462 148448 Pcs 5378 Knitting and knit dyeing 822 12891 Eqv Meter 7414 Table : Exports of Different Knitwear Items (in US $ million) Growth pattern over the period Year T-Shirt Trousers Sweater Knitwear Total RMG 2002-03 642.62 643.66 578.38 13.34 7.16 2003-04 1062.11 1334.85 616.31 29.88 15.76 2004-05 1349.71 1667.72 893.12 31.26 12.87 2005-06 1781.51 2165.25 1042.61 35.38 23.11 Bangladesh has experienced some product diversification in its export of garments to the US market in recent years compared with the early 1990s. The top five products (coats, knit shirts and blouses, trousers, non-knit shirts and blouses, and undergarments) accounted for around 80% share of the total garment export earnings of Bangladesh from the US in 1990 which decreased to 58% in 2001. However, the country’s performance in upgrading its products is not significant with regard to the US market .Bangladesh exported a total of 99 types of products in the textile and garment category to the US in 2005, but the contribution of most of the category was minimal.


Knitwear garments from Bangladesh have gained remarkable access to the EU market during the period 19962005 because mix of RMG products exported from Bangladesh to the EU changed significantly. The top five product groups contributed to 76% of the total garment export earnings of Bangladesh from the EU in 1996, and that share increased to 82% in 2005. The share of shirts in total garment exports from Bangladesh to the EU has decreased, whereas the shares for overcoats, jackets, sweaters, suits and some other knitwear products have increased in recent years. These changes demonstrate that Bangladesh is achieving some level of product diversification in exporting garment products to the EU. In addition, a gender analysis of products indicates that Bangladesh has achieved some upgrading of its products recently in terms of exporting garment products to the EU. Garments for females are treated as upgraded products compared with garments for males, since they add more value. The earnings of Bangladesh from the export of garments for females to the EU have increased during the period 1996-2005.Consistent with this analysis, products in our sample firms vary with T-shirt, ladies top, nightwear, pajamas, underwear, ladies wear, and polo shirts, etc. Firms that reported achieving milestone performance within the period 2000-2005 are common in ladies wear product category and emphasized on more value addition within the industry. Employment Pattern and Wage Structure Employment in the knitwear sector crucially varies with the flow of orders. With this caveat in mind it was found that large firms employed about 760 workers compared to 300 workers in medium firms and only 16 workers in small firm. Of the total labor force, large firms employed 46% as temporary workers compared to 57% in the medium firms. For small firms this rate is meager at less than 5%. The higher rate of temporary labor absorption within the medium firms is quite evident from lower receipts of contracts by these firms and is consistent with the nature of seasonal effects of their production. Large firms also encounter the same type of seasonality but the magnitude is smaller due to scale and integration effect. As a result, temporary employment is quite high for the both large and medium firms. The gender distribution of labor force shows diverse pattern; administrative and managerial jobs, and those that need special technical skills are highly skewed towards male employment. Activities such as machine operation, quality control, and cutting, etc., where skills increase with experiences show more equal distribution pattern. Causal labor involvement is not frequent at all. Employments of unpaid proprietors are higher (60%) in medium firms. The corresponding rates for large and small firms are 25% and 33% respectively. Usually small firms do not provide any technical training to their employees. The concept is also not common in medium firms. Large firms usually provide training in the form of apprentice but they constitute less than 5% of the total workers. Consequently the concept of stipend is not common; instead the apprentices receive wage around Tk.1800 to Tk.2000 per month. Working hours vary across firms and the types of job assignments. In large firms managerial and administrative employees have to work about 42-48 hours a week. In contrast, production workers such as machine operator have to work for 72 hours a week. Working hours in medium firms increase to 60 hours for the administrative and managerial employees and decrease to 66 hours for the workers. Working hours of the executives in the small firms are comparable with the large and medium firms but production workers have to work longer. Table : Wage Structure across Knitwear Firms Ranges of Monthly Wages across Firms (in thousand taka) Large firm Medium firm Small firm Male Female Male Female Male Female Managerial 21-35 Same Administration 20-37.5 Same 10-25 NA section Other Officers 10-25 Same 6-27 8-15 8-15 8-12 Engineer 8-28 Same 13-25 NA NA NA Supervisor 6-23 Same 3-22 3-18 10-20 Same Quality Controller 4-20 Same 3-18 Same 8-15 Same Operator 3.5-15 3.5-12 2.1-15 3-12 2.5-10 Same


Garment section (sewing and knitting sweaters/socks) Helper 2-5 Same 1.5-4 1.2-3 2-3 Same Engineer 8-28 Same 11-23 NA NA NA Supervisor 6-25 Same 5-22 6-15 NA NA Quality Controller 4-20 Same 6-18 Same NA NA Operator 3-15 3.5-12 3-15 3-12 4.5-6 Same Other production sections (knitting fabrics, dyeing and finishing) Helper 2.5-5 1.8-4 2-4 1.5-3 2.5-4 1.5-3 VI. Rise and Fall and Rise …of the Knitwear Manufacturing Firms in Bangladesh Knitwear manufacturing firms in Narayanganj comprises of small and medium size units operating with limited capital and low capacity. These firms depend entirely on regular turnover for generation of resources. Three factors were found responsible for their emergence and development: (a) pull factors (good prospect, ever increasing demand, etc.), (b) push factors (previous experience, family business, etc.) and (c) distress factors (low capital or skill required, etc.). According to the push factors many of the employees previously working in such units start new firms of their own after acquiring some training and experience. Such a step provides them with marginally higher income (from wages and profits) compared to the low wage paid by their ex-employers; about three-fourth of the firms initiated business due to push factors. But at mature stage many firms fall behind due to distress factors with low capital per units. Many of these firms report to suffer from both resource and marketing problems. At the opposite end, the relatively better off units are those that are enjoying higher capital and returns per capital. Recently established firms came into being due to pull factors. Both composition and growth pattern of the knitwear industry have shown tremendous heterogeneity. There are segments of firms with linkage to the organized sector; fortunes of these types of firms vary with the whole industrial sector in the country. In contrast, there are segments that grow when the organized sector is slackening as people without alternative employment opportunities get deposited therein. While certain segments of them cater to the industrial demand for intermediaries, some others fulfill the demand of the final consumers. This heterogeneity is not only across size class of the units but across product groups also. As a result, their growth is influenced by diverse economic processes. Requirement of Knitwear garments in BD & World According to statistics of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Bangladesh exported 7.78 billion pieces of knitted garments in 2010, amounting to Taka 61.9 billion (approximately US$855.0 million) in value. In terms of export volume, Bangladesh became the world's second largest knitwear exporter, surpassing Turkey, which exported 7.74 billion pieces in 2010. China remains to be the world's biggest exporter of knitwear in terms of both export volume and value, making up 50% of the world's knitted garments market. Despite viewing Bangladesh as a competitor in the garment market, Turkey is also a significant export market of Bangladeshi apparel, given its fast growing economy. As a result, Turkey has started to step up preventive measures, for instance, it has imposed 27% tariff on garments imported from Bangladesh. BKMEA is confident about the potential of the country's garment industry. It noted that if the country's apparel


export can grow by this year's rate of 40%, it will beat Turkey to be the world's second largest knitwear exporter by value next year. Bangladesh requires near about 3.15 billion pieces. Of knitwear garments that amounts 21.5 billion taka (approximately 302.5 million US dollars) in value. Growth rate now & in future Until the early 1980s, India and Sri Lanka were the major South Asian suppliers of RMG to USA and Western Europe. After the onset of political problems in Sri Lanka and a consistent anti-export environment in India, Western buyers and Eastern producers became interested in trying their luck in Bangladesh, which was able to respond quickly . The industry demonstrated spectacular growth since the 1980s. In 1983 only 21 units were registered with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), which generated sales of only about US$10 million. The volume of export was exciting throughout the 2000 and was $1,201 million in 2002-04, $2,608 million in 2005-06 and $4,149 million in 2007-08. In FY 2007-08, the share of RMG in total exports earnings was 73 percent (World Bank 2009). Bangladeshis own more than 95 percent of the garment factories. The industry directly employs 1.5 million people (majority of whom are female) and it is estimated that another 10-15 million benefit indirectly. There are 15 companies/groups, which are the major holders of quotas and are capable of producing in excess of 10,000 doz. of garment per month with fabric outsourcing capabilities. Around 500 companies producing between 5,000 to 10,000 doz. per month work mainly for importers and agents and produce about half their work on Cost of Manufacture (CM) basis and half on FOB basis. Some 1500 units, producing up to 5,000 dozen per month, work mainly on sub-contracting basis. The remaining 200 companies are classified as sick usually as a result of financial problems. The exports of Bangladesh are highly concentrated in two major markets: EU and USA. In 1998-99, Bangladesh exported 52.4 percent of its RMG to EU. In 2008-09, Germany was the main buyer (14.5%) followed by UK (10%), France (8%), Netherlands (5.4%) and Italy (5.3%). During the same year, Bangladesh exported 43.2% of its exports to USA, while to Canada it was only 2.3 percent .The high concentration in a few markets is risky; consequently Bangladeshi RMG must diversify into different markets. This is measured by the specialists that if there is no problem in the operations of the knitwear industry then the exports are supposed to be than now that is if the sector grew with vengeance and the country currently exports over US$11 billion in textiles and garments, with a projected target of US$24 billion dollars by 2020. LIMITATION Bangladesh Capacity The industry directly employs 1.5 million people (majority of whom are female) and it is estimated that another 10-15 million benefit indirectly. There are 15 companies/groups, which are the major holders of quotas and are capable of producing in excess of 10,000 doz. of garment per month with fabric outsourcing capabilities. Around 500 companies producing between 5,000 to 10,000 doz. per month work mainly for importers and agents and produce about half their work on Cost of Manufacture (CM) basis and half on FOB basis. Some 1500 units, producing up to 5,000 dozen per month, work mainly on sub-contracting basis. The remaining 200 companies are classified as sick usually as a result of financial problems . SWOT Analysis The new environment represents a serious threat to Bangladesh. On the one hand, it is opening a vast market with unlimited export potentials; on the other hand, it signals fierce competition from textile giants like China, India and, from efficient producers like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Competition may also come from Sub Saharan Africa and the Caribbean countries due to preferential treatment from USA through TDA 2009. Different regional agreements like NAFTA also appear to be unfavorable for the RMG sector of Bangladesh.


Given the changed scenario described above, the following sections focus on SWOT (strengths & weaknesses and opportunities & threats) analysis of the RMG industry of Bangladesh. Strengths One of the strengths behind the success of RMG of Bangladesh is the availability of low cost labor compared to other countries in the region. The labor rates in textile industry (compiled by Warner International) show that the average hourly wage rates for Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were respectively US$ 0.23, $0.56, $0.49 and $0.39. Being in the manufacturing of RMG for two decades, Bangladesh now possesses a large pool of skilled & semiskilled manpower. Moreover, there are many unemployed young men and women who can easily be converted into a skilled workforce if needed. Given the fairly long learning curve in this industry, extensive experience in dealing with foreign buyers, offshore bankers, shippers, and Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) agents is a valuable asset for the exporters of Bangladesh. Weaknesses Dependence on others for raw materials, low productivity, limited knowledge in international marketing information, poor infrastructure, political instability, disruptive trade unionism, inefficiency in port management, and excessive dependence on RMG sub-sector are the major weaknesses of the industry. The industry is heavily dependent on others for outsourcing of raw materials such as clothing and accessories. Bangladesh is currently importing raw materials (gray fabrics) for its RMG factories from countries like India, China and Thailand under back-to-back L/Cs. In a quota free environment, these countries will obviously try to export finished apparels to North American markets rather than sell fabrics to countries like Bangladesh (Bhattacharya 1999b). With equal access to the world market, these direct competitors will either stop selling materials to their competitors like Bangladesh (a strategic move) or charge higher prices for their materials (because of increased internal demand). In either case, Bangladesh will face difficulty in procuring the required raw materials at reasonable prices. Another major shortcoming of the apparel sector is the low productivity of its workers. The laborer productivity of Bangladesh is much lower than that of Sri Lanka, South Korea and Hong Kong. Low productivity might erode the advantage of low cost of labor of Bangladesh. Exporters of Bangladesh also have limited access to current market intelligence and international trade information (World Bank 2009) because, so far, foreign buying houses have been dominating the marketing part of the business. In a post MFA era, if these buying houses shift their bases to other countries, Bangladeshi exporters may face serious problems in finding their ultimate buyers. At present problems in port management is a serious challenge to RMG industry of Bangladesh. The Chittagong Port is the most important entry and exit point for trade and commerce of the country. Almost 90 percent of the exports and 75 percent of the imports of Bangladesh are accomplished through the Chittagong Port . Therefore, it is considered as the country’s economic lifeline. The Chittangong Port is one of the most inefficient and corrupt ports in the world. A World Bank (2009) study estimated that handling charges for a 20-foot container were $640 in Chittagong compared with $220 in Colombo and $360 in Bangkok. The study added, inefficiency at Chittagong port could be costing the economy as much as $600 million annually. Besides this, there are numerous demands for “under-the-table� payments that are reportedly required at every step of export processing from opening of letters of credit to the clearance of goods from Customs. According to a survey (CPD 2007), the hidden costs paid by importers per consignment ranged from Tk.4,700 to Tk.36,800 (about US$100 to $735). These inefficiencies and corruption seriously hamper the competitiveness of Bangladeshi garment in the world market. Besides numerous procedural, physical and/or infrastructure related bottlenecks, some sociopolitical consequences have added fuel to the chronic go-slow and congestion problem at the port. Some of these problems are:


• • • • •

Frequent work stoppage by different service providers, dock laborers, transport workers etc. (The Port remained closed for 702 hours since 1999 to mid 2000). Excessive dock labor unionism (there are about 30 different agencies/groups including 22 workers unions). Politicization of Collective Bargaining Agents (CBA). Direct involvement of powerful local politicians, elite and musclemen Illegal gratification practices

These vested interest groups are so powerful that they were able to stop the Government’s attempts to construct a private container terminal near the Chittagong Port and another at Patenga which were supposed to be funded by the Asian Development Bank. This and many similar activities of different groups are undoubtedly unlawful but it seems that nobody has the ability to stop it. For undue delays due to these sociopolitical factors, several times had the Singapore based CFTC imposed “Congestion Surcharge”. In a recent message (July 2008) to concerned ministries, K-mart Far East Ltd. has expressed deep concern over the deterioration of the management of Chittagong Port. The fax message says: Kmart can no longer sit on the sidelines without making our 20 concerns known to the Bangladesh government. …. Kmart cannot afford to lose even one day of selling time due to inefficiencies and strikes at the Chittagong Port. Kmart cannot and will not accept a 5% reduction of shelf life due to outside issues such as inefficient port facilities and operations. … Kmart will be watching very closely how the Bangladesh government reacts to recent events (strikes), and how much investment is made into upgrading the Port of Chittagong into a world class port. Without positive response and actions (not words) from Bangladesh government, Kmart merchants will be forced to reduce our investment in the Bangladesh garment industry and place future business in India, Central America, Africa, etc. (Fax message on 21 July 2009 at 15:19). The message clearly shows the severity of the problem and the reactions of valued customers. Poor infrastructure, frequent power failures, unfair dealings in government offices and political instability with frequent and unscheduled hartals (strikes) are additional problems. The potential danger is that if we fail to take immediate corrective action against these practices, Chittagong Port might be declared as an exclusion zone by international shipping concerns. Opportunities The greatest opportunities lie on the unlimited market outside Bangladesh. In a quota free world, the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD 1986) estimated that removal of the MFA and tariffs by developed countries will expand exports of clothing by 135 percent and textile by 78 percent. Trela and Whalley (1990), using a global general equilibrium model, estimated that the change will be much larger: the value of imports of textiles and clothing will rise by 305 percent in the US, 200 percent in Canada, and 190 percent in EU. This indicates that phasing out of quota will expand the market tremendously. Asia by far is the largest player in the world textile and clothing market and, industry experts are confident that, overall, Asia still will dominate . Although Bangladesh lags behind in the textile sub-sector, it is very likely that the sector will get a boost through forward integration with RMG. In the knitting sector, Bangladesh gained substantial competitive advantage over her competitors. According to the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the cost of yarn production per kg. in the private sector of Bangladesh is only US$2.48, whereas in India it is $2.78, in Pakistan $2.60, in Japan $3.38, in Korea $2.73 and in Thailand $3.78. Therefore, knit-RMG has a good prospect for Bangladesh in post MFA period. The apparel sector of Bangladesh mainly exports low-cost products to the international market. But she can move into high value added products through diversification. This is not impossible given her two decades of experience, good relationship with buyers, worldwide reputation, and presence in quality-conscious United


States and EU markets. Recently it has already penetrated the difficult but lucrative quality-conscious Japanese market. Threats The biggest threat will be the fierce competition from efficient producers like Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and many SSA and Caribbean countries. Threats might come not only from marketing but also from outsourcing. As mentioned earlier, more than 95 percent fabrics are imported from direct competitors. The potential danger after 2010 is that these countries might either stop selling their raw materials to Bangladesh or increase the price of their materials tremendously. Whatever may be the case, Bangladesh will lose some competitive edge in the world market. Environmental issues, labor standard, Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) etc. might also appear as a deadly threat to developing countries like Bangladesh. Although developing countries are not being singled out for environmental issues, being poorer, they cannot obviously maintain rigorous environmental standards. Moreover, the fact that their competitive advantage often lies in natural resources and pollution-intensive industries implies that they are vulnerable to being pressured to enforce stricter standards or face less market access for their exports to developed countries. Other issue like child labor has already proved as a sensitive issue in the western market. Compliance to the Rules of Origin (ROO) may threaten the future market access and performance of RMG sector of Bangladesh. In the case of woven-RMG, a two-stage, and in the case of knit-RMG, a three-stage transformation (cotton to yarn, yarn to fabrics, fabrics to RMG) process is required for imported yarn from India. Bangladesh exporters also had to pay back exempted duties amounting to about US$60 million to EU on the grounds of ROO violation and circumvention. Regionalism is another threat to the industry. The World Bank country study expresses its concerns that “Over the medium term it is also possible that NAFTA may lead to a displacement of East Asian RMG imports into the U.S. and Canada. To the extent these exports by the more efficient East Asian producers are then diverted to the European Community, they may tend to displace Bangladesh’s RMG exports into Europe”. In the US market another challenge will come from Mexican apparel industry where it has zero tariff access because of NAFTA. Mexico’s share in US clothing imports increased by over 200% in the period 2003-2008. Extension of NAFTA membership to the other Latin American and Caribbean countries may aggravate the situation further . Trade Tariff & Limitations GLOBALISATION has made international trade very competitive. The World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries are facing various barriers to trade promotion. Due to the time-consuming process of removing the barriers, many countries are now thinking of alternatives like regional and bilateral free trade agreements for duty-free market access for many of their products. The European Union (EU), considered a model of regional integration, has emerged as an economic power. It acts as a unit in various international bodies like the UN and the WTO. Keeping this in mind, South Asian leaders formed South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and adopted South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement (Sapta) and South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta). Safta came into effect on January 1, 2006, but South Asia is miles from the cherished goal of free trade. Bangladesh needs to assess whether or not Safta will increase trade. It should study the barriers its businessmen are facing in doing business with the other Saarc countries to pinpoint the measures to make Safta more effective. The study should concentrate on analysing the possible impact Safta could have on Bangladesh’s trade with the other Saarc countries. It should identify Bangladesh’s major exportable products in the negative or sensitive list of the Saarc countries, so that it can take up the issue in the next trade negotiations under Safta.


Bangladesh should identify major barriers to intra-Saarc trade. It should take up the issue of making Safta an effective regional trade arrangement by removing the problems. Bangladesh’s trade with Saarc countries: Bangladesh’s trade with Saarc countries is rising slowly, but trade under Safta has not risen as it should have. However, trade with rest of the world has risen sharply. This means that Safta has brought no significant benefit for Bangladesh trade. Bangladesh exports to, and imports from Saarc countries: While Bangladesh’s imports from Saarc countries increased significantly after Safta was activated, its exports have not increased accordingly. Comparison between Bangladesh’s export to Saarc countries and the world, before and after Safta was activated: Under the Safta arrangement, every member-country retains the right to protect its industry by imposing restrictions on imports. The list of restricted products is known as the sensitive list of negative items. The big negative list under Safta calls for careful study and review. The following are the major exportable products of Bangladesh in the negative list of the other Saarc countries under the Safta regime: -Woven Garments HS Code 5208.11.00 5911.40.00 -Knitwear HS Code 6101.20.00 6310.90.00 The other Saarc countries use very high rates of tariff structure as tariff barriers to obstruct imports. There are also non-tariff barriers to trade in the Saarc region. These include: -Lack of trust; -Lack of land connectivity; -Transit Crisis; -Lack of inter-border transportation entrance; -Complicated visa system; -Political conflict; -Lack of ICT support and -Large negative list.


However, Safta can be more effective if the agreements thereof are properly implemented, tariffs are reduced for intra-Saarc trade, non-tariff barriers are removed, the negative lists are shortened and the private sector representatives are involved in the negotiations. A Saarc task force does need to identify the problems for taking remedial actions. If a coordinated common economic approach is taken and a regional fund is created to promote poverty reduction, economic cooperation among the member-countries of the Saarc can be strengthened. Scopes of knitwear industry in Bangladesh With the advancement of the knitting technology, the use of knitted fabrics is expanding rapidly all over the world. The Knitwear sector and its markets are constantly evolving worldwide. This segment of the garment industry has experienced many changes in recent years. With improved technology, the limitations like shrinkage and torque in knitted fabrics or garments have been reduced to a great extent and this has opened more opportunities. Many global players are eyeing the Bangladeshi Market with great interest as one of leading markets in the Post Quota Scenario. The Knitwear Exporters from all over Bangladesh have already been equipped with making new designs and collections which complements with the current fashion trend and to meet with International Buyers’ requirements. Dhaka is one of the Bangladeshi city that took advantage of globalization and economic reforms, along with export-led growth. The export of knitwear products from Dhaka is always on the rise every year and the industry continues to show rapid growth. Some Scopes of this industry are as follows a) Knitwear is a near self-sufficient sector in all respect; currently Bangladeshi Knitwear manufacturing companies are supplying 90% of the knit fabric requirements of the sector. b) Local yarn suppliers provide around 75% of the total requirement of the sector. c) We have more than 100 composite factories; besides the composite units many garments have their own dying and finishing units. A separate dying and finishing industry also has grown up over the time to support the sector. d) Good capacity exists in the sector. e) Bangladeshi knitwear is almost unbeatable in price advantages. f) Bangladesh provides not only a cheap labor force which is unbeatable but they are also unparallel in stitching capability. g) Employment rate in lower middle class increased h)Number of fashion houses are increasing day by day that has good quality of knitwear goods i)Bangladesh is taking part in various fashion events which is giving new identity to the Bangladeshi knitwear goods. j)Bangladeshi Knitwear is exported to 90 countries of the world. New development in knitwear Some new developments are added for increasing better scopes in knitwear industry, the initiatives are


a) A new software is developed for cost calculation, production costing, accounting costing in knitwear industry. b) This software is also used to calculate unit cost of goods in which material cost, labor cost, overhead cost etc. c) Aggressive programs are taken for developing the working environment of the industry such as more incentives in fulfilling the target, incentive for sound behavior in the organization etc. d) Organizing new training programs for marketing, maintenance, managing. e) Various programs are held for developing entrepreneurial qualities in the industry holders to run the industry very sound. f) Developed system in sea port such as internal working system, toll system to run the shipment very safely than previous period. Analyzing the overall performance Question 1: Please tell us something about the knitwear sector of Bangladesh. Answer : In the early 1980s, there were small-scale independent investments in the readymade garments (RMG) sector. At that time, it was not considered viable and received very little government attention. Within a decade, the RMG industry in Bangladesh had flourished and by the early 1990s it had emerged as a major employer. Under the dynamic leadership of the private sector together with policy support from the government, the export oriented RMG industry has shown a spectacular growth during the last two and a half decades. Question 2: How it is competing in respect to other countries who are exporting knitwear goods? Answer : The knitwear industries of Bangladesh are sound enough to compete with other countries that are doing the same task. They are also using the same machineries that others have. Competitive wage rate together with easily trainable workforce, entrepreneurial skill, expanding supply side capacity, and government policy support helped to translate the comparative advantages into competitive advantages. These are their advantages, which are much than their competitors like India, Pakistan, China etc. Question 3: What is the quantity that the knitwear sector of Bangladesh is producing annually? Answer : There are 15 companies/groups, which are the major holders of quotas and are capable of producing in excess of 10,000 doz. of garment per month that is 1,20,000 doz per year with fabric outsourcing capabilities. Around 500 companies producing between 5,000 to 10,000 doz. per month That is 60000 doz to 120000 doz per year work mainly for importers and agents and produce about half their work on Cost of Manufacture (CM) basis and half on FOB basis. Some 1500 units, producing up to 5,000 dozen per month, work mainly on subcontracting basis. The remaining 200 companies are classified as sick usually as a result of financial problems . Question 4: Is it enough to meet the country’s demand as well as outside country’s demand? Answer : Yes, it is quite enough to meet both the domestic and overseas demand. Question 5: What amount of earnings comes from the export of the knitwear goods? Answer : According to statistics of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), it was seen that Bangladesh exported 7.78 billion pieces of knitted garments in 2010, amounting to Taka 6.19 billion (approximately US$85.50 million) in value. According to that statistics it can be said that in 2011 till August 2011 Bangladesh has exported 6.35 billion pieces of knitted goods amounting taka 5.28 billion(approximately US$73 million) in value. Question 6: Who are the major importers of Bangladeshi knitted goods?


Answer : The exports of Bangladesh are highly concentrated in two major markets: EU and USA. In 20092010, Bangladesh exported 52.4 percent of its RMG to EU. In 2009-2010, Germany was the main buyer (14.5%) followed by UK (10%), France (8%), Netherlands (5.4%) and Italy (5.3%). During the same year, Bangladesh exported 43.2% of its exports to USA, while to Canada it was only 2.3 percent. Question 7: What are the factors responsible for the emergence & development of knitwear sector in Bangladesh? Answer : Three factors were found responsible for their emergence and development of knitwear sector in Bangladesh: (a) pull factors (good prospect, ever increasing demand, etc.), (b) push factors (previous experience, family business, etc.) and (c) distress factors (low capital or skill required, etc.). Question 8: What are the strengths of our country’s knitwear sector? Answer : One of the strengths behind the success of RMG of Bangladesh is the availability of low cost labor compared to other countries in the region. Being in the manufacturing of RMG for two decades, Bangladesh now possesses a large pool of skilled & semiskilled manpower. Moreover, there are many unemployed young men and women who can easily be converted into a skilled workforce if needed. Given the fairly long learning curve in this industry, extensive experience in dealing with foreign buyers, offshore bankers, shippers, and Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) agents is a valuable asset for the exporters of Bangladesh. Question 9: What are the weaknesses of our country’s knitwear sector? Answer : Dependence on others for raw materials, low productivity, limited knowledge in international marketing information, poor infrastructure, political instability, disruptive trade unionism, inefficiency in port management, and excessive dependence on RMG sub-sector are the major weaknesses of the industry. Question 10: What type of barriers we face while exporting? Answer

: Some non tariff barriers we face while exporting are as following-

-Lack of trust; -Lack of land connectivity; -Transit Crisis; -Lack of inter-border transportation entrance; -Complicated visa system; -Political conflict; -Lack of ICT support and -Large negative list. Question 11: What type of scopes the knitwear industry has?


Answer : For the expansions of the knitwear industry the scopes are huge in this sector, the amount of foreign currency of the country is increasing as well as the employment of lower middle class also, Bangladesh is getting familiarity in International Business by dealing with various countries specially US & Europe which is a vital scope for the economy of the country, for rapid increase of this industries the people of Bangladesh are getting enough clothes from various fashion houses & boutiques and the number of such fashion houses are increasing day by day and people are also being aware of fashion, Fashion experts are taking part in various international apparel exhibition which is giving Bangladeshi apparels a new identity in the fashion world and so on. Question 12: What is the current situation of the knitwear industry? Answer : The knitwear industries are facing some problems in spite of having lot of advantages but in account the advantages are more. The overall garment and clothing industry in Bangladesh is going through unprecedented expansion, with a year-on-year 20% growth rate. Knitwear remains the highest contributor to the exports of the country. Along with all the available resources, weak dollar value, aggressive marketing, and supportive political environment also aid for the growth of the knitwear segment. Question 13: What will be the position of the knitwear industry within 2020? Answer : China remains to be the world's biggest exporter of knitwear in terms of both export volume and value, making up 50% of the world's knitted garments market. In terms of export volume, Bangladesh became the world's second largest knitwear exporter, surpassing Turkey, which exported 7.74 billion pieces in 2010. However, the sector grew with vengeance and the country currently exports over US$11 billion in textiles and garments, with a projected target of US$24 billion dollars by 2020. Some Findings 1. Dependence on others for raw materials such as clothing and accessories. 2. Due to this lacking in availability of raw materials other countries are taking the advantage of export the finished apparels to North American markets rather than sell fabrics to countries like Bangladesh in a quota free environment. 3.

Low productivity of the workers in the industry. The laborer productivity of Bangladesh is much lower than that of Sri Lanka, South Korea and Hong Kong.

4. The workers remain unsatisfied by the payment policy of the company where the incentives & bonuses are not paid properly which creates harassing situation inside and outside the industry. 5. Exporters of Bangladesh also have limited access to current market intelligence and international trade information because, so far, foreign buying houses have been dominating the marketing part of the business. 6. The seaport has serious problem with it’s management system for which corruption is occurring in every steps such as in container handling charge, shipment process of exporting goods where large amount of bribe is required, frequent stoppage at work by the service providers there, excess unionism of dock labor, direct involvement of powerful local politicians etc. which is hampering the economy of the country because it is considered as the economic lifeline.


7. Lack of enough contribution by Government for garments management system, which results unfairness to them and they, start fighting for getting their legal rights, which falls under labor law of Bangladesh, & this creates a negative image to the countries who import from Bangladesh. 8. Sometime political instability occurs which hampers the working process of the garment industries, which is recognized as a big problem. Recommendation 1. Minimize the dependency for raw materials on others & also the

outsourcing of raw materials.

2. The individuals should be highly trained on productivity level so that may not fall under low productivity. 3. Every industry should have a developed infrastructure where all modern working facilities should be available so that the workers would get a sound working environment & properly concentrate on work. 4. The workers should get their salaries and other incentives in time & the festival bonus that is their right so they will never create any harassing situation to the industry holders and stop working. 5. Exporters should have wide knowledge about current market intelligence and international trade information to meet the importers expectation. 6. The management of the seaport should have changes in their working system by removing all type of corruptions. 7. The carrier charge of the containers in seaport must be less then other neighbor countries. 8. Excess unionism of the workers in the seaport should be minimized by having negotiation with their union leaders. 9. The port area should be kept free from the direct involvement of politicians and also collective bargaining agents. 10. All type of political instability should be acute by taking strong initiatives by the ruling government otherwise it will be a chance for the rival countries and cause economic disaster to us. CONCLUSION The focus of this study was to give a bird’s eye view of the comparative look of the knitwear manufacturing sector of Bangladesh. In this context, the study attempted to inquiry into the causal influence of size composition of firms on patterns of growth and dominant characteristics to relate the basis towards historical and institutional evolution of the industry. Based on the secondary data, documents as well as observational field survey the following remarks may be made. It has often been accused that the value additions in the RMG manufacturing sector are very low. Hence, policy makers in the past often tempted to ignore this sector, hoping that with time it would add more value through backward linkages. Recently government is giving close attention to the affairs of the sector, allocating resources to serve the dual objectives of employment generation, and ensuring comparatively higher returns to capital. The knitwear sector is one the important foreign exchange earners of the country and safe depository of the vast pool of rural unskilled workers for easy, albeit low-paid, employment. Therefore, public policy towards the sector will have non-trivial repercussions.


Certain size groups of the knitwear sector are continually handicapped due to adequate fund for working capital. Resource availability to these units has also to be facilitated. The large firms have so far been the main beneficiary of institutional credit. Time has come to redirect funds towards the medium and smaller ones, which promise better return on investment. This assistance will roughly ensure the optimal utilization of the country’s scarce capital. The medium and smaller firms warrant urgent assistance because of their rapid growths between the initial and milestone years. Besides, easy access of finance will encourage many hitherto employed personnel to venture to establish a firm of their own. It was evident that technical inefficiency in knitwear sector decreasing in Bangladesh. While this is true of most of the manufacturing industries, knitwear sector warrants extra consideration because of its contribution to the foreign exchange earnings and employment. A closer analysis of this growth pattern, performance, problems, and prospects of the knitwear sector is necessary if one has to evolve a policy regime that is beneficial for their optimal development. In this context, region specific planning can play a much better role than centralized one as much of the growth dynamics of knitwear sector is guided by local rather than global characteristics.


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