Japan is turning out to be a lucrative market for exports of knitwear and terry towels from Bangladesh. The demand for terry towels is mainly coming from service sectors of Japan like hotels, restaurants and hospitals and those for knitwear from retailers and apparel importers.
China is the biggest exporter of textiles and clothing to Japan, with an insurmountable market share of almost 80 percent. In the last few months in a bid to cut reliance on their Chinese suppliers, the Japanese have started looking towards Bangladeshi textile and apparel suppliers.
Knitwear producers have been in for bounties in the first four months of the current fiscal year beginning from July and according to Mr Fazlul Hoque, Former President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturer Exporters Association (BKMEA), shipments from the sector grew by 40 percent in the first four months of current fiscal and those to Japan shot up exponentially by 300 percent in the last one year.
Speaking about the export potential to Japan, Mr Hoque, told fibre2fashion, â€œJapan is lucrative not only for towels but for all sorts of knitwear and woven garments as well. Japan is a very big and potential market for Bangladesh.
â€œUntil 2009 Japan has been sourcing almost 80 percent of their textile and apparel imports from China. But since last year they started to feel that, China is becoming more expensive and full dependency on one country is becoming somehow dangerous for them, so they started to move towards other countries, a policy which they termed as â€˜China Plus Oneâ€™.
â€œIncidentally at the same time BKMEA brought a big delegation to Japan in July 2009 and met with apparel business leaders and all big apparel buyers during the visit. BKMEA sent another delegation in September 2009 to invite Japanese businessmen to attend Knit Expo-2009 which was scheduled to be held at in Dhaka in November 2009 under the auspices of BKMEA.
â€œAlmost 60 apparel buyers from Japan took part in the show and they were amazed to see the quality of our products which in fact gave a big boost to overall export performance of apparel to Japan. Afterwards Japanese companies continued to visit Bangladesh and even in the last week, one big Japanese buyer visited Bangladesh to source knitwear & towels from Bangladesh.
â€œKnitwear recorded 300% growth in Japan market in last one year and I think this trend will not only continue, rather it can be increased in coming months as Japanese are now quite aware and satisfied with our products in all respects, which was missing beforeâ€, he concluded by saying.
Informing about the current situation in Bangladesh, he said, â€œDespite having some odds like shortage of gas/electricity and recent sharp rise in cotton yarn prices, Bangladesh knitwear sector performed very well and in the last four months, knitwear exports have grown by more than 40 percent, which is simply fantastic. Although some of the smaller units are facing problems due to record-high yarn prices, but overall export growth and future export trends are also very bright and prospectiveâ€.