Bangladeshâ€™s textile industry can be divided into three main categories: public sector; handloom sector; and the organized private sector. The private sector is the fastest growing sector in the country.
The handloom industry provides employment for a large segment of the population of Bangladesh and supplies a large portion of the fabric required by the local market.
Mahmud E. Alam, managing director, Famano Textile Mills Ltd., said about 20 percent of existing mills in Bangladesh are large-scale mills, roughly 30 percent are medium-scale mills, and the remaining 50 percent are small-scale mills. Alam said the number of spinning mills in the country is increasing day-by-day.
The textile quotas under the Multi-Fiber Arrangement of January 2005 have been moderate in Bangladesh and the industry is divided on their impact. While industry analysts say Bangladeshâ€™s garment and textile manufacturers will have to face steep competition from countries such as India, Pakistan, China and Thailand as a result of new policies, the textile companies see no impact on their business.
Alam feels the lifting of quotas is not going to affect his business. â€œThe future of the textile industry here is very bright,â€ Alam said. â€œEven the lifting of quotas is not going to affect the industry as was worried,â€ he said.
Mostafizur Rahman, managing director, Pawrob, also is of the view that lifting quotas is not going to have very much of an effect, but he fears China will affect the Bangladesh textile industry in the long run.
â€œThe main reason behind this is the leap factor,â€ Rahman said. â€œChinese companies have an edge of 30 days over Bangladeshi textile companies.â€
Combined, the textile and apparel sectors consist of 3,600 firms. There is a concentration of manufacturing activity in and around the capital city of Dhaka and a growing garment manufacturing presence in the countryâ€™s export processing zones.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association Secretary General Taufiq Hasan said that because textiles and ready-made garments are the two largest export sectors and employers in Bangladesh, government support will continue and there are no restrictions on repatriation of profits and investment or tax-free imports of machinery and raw materials for export. The government also is liberal toward work permits.
According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the total fabric requirement in the captive market is about 3 billion yards, of which roughly 85 to 90 percent is imported from countries such as China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan. Fabric demand is increasing at the rate of 20 percent per year.
Although the industry is one of the largest in Bangladesh and is still expanding, it faces serious problems, principally because the country does not produce enough of the raw materials necessary for the industry to expand. The primary materials used in the spinning sector are raw cotton and man-made fibers such as viscose and polyester staple fibers. Unfortunately, none of these raw materials are produced in Bangladesh.
Most spinning mills in Bangladesh produce low-grade yarn. Available figures show that current yarn production satisfied only 22-percent of the total yarn demand. In spite of this drawback, as many as 116 new spinning mills, each having the capacity of 25,000 spindles, will be established in the near future.
The weaving sector also is plagued by a lack of organization and coordination. The existing weaving capacity in Bangladesh can meet only about 40 percent of fabric demand; the rest is imported. However, the increasing trend of expansion in the weaving sector is clear from the fact that 223 modern weaving plants, each with an annual capacity of 10 million meters, will be set up in the near future.
The knitting and hosiery sectors look brighter than weaving, and about 80 percent of garment accessories like cartons, threads, buttons, labels, poly bags, gum tapes, shirt boards and neck boards now are being produced within Bangladesh and contribute to the the national gross domestic product. However, the textile industry is just budding.