The government is making efforts to raise annual export earnings from leather and leather products to $10 billion by 2030, which currently stands at around $1 billion, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Wednesday.
"Maintaining the quality of leather products is very important for the export market. We have raw materials and skilled manpower. By using new technology we can take the leather industry a long way as there is a huge demand for leather products in the international market," he said while speaking as chief guest at the opening ceremony of the three-day eighth edition of the LeatherTech Bangladesh - an international trade show – at the International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital.
Once graduated to the status of a developing country in 2026, Bangladesh will lose the facilities it is currently enjoying as an LDC (least developed country), mentioned the commerce minister, adding, "We have to move forward by competing in the global market.
"In the ongoing global situation, the leather industry is being shifted from countries such as Vietnam and China. It is an opportunity for Bangladesh, which should be grabbed. The leather industry should be taken forward through the production of quality goods. The financial institutions of the country are supporting the development of such industries. The government also is providing necessary support."
Tipu Munshi said 100 economic zones are being developed in important places of the country under the guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Many of them are now at the last stage and it is possible to easily set up leather industries there, he added.
Many countries have already come forward to invest in the sector, he noted, adding that more domestic and foreign investment is needed.
Syed Nasim Manzur, president of the Leather-goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB), said the industry is facing various challenges in the post-Covid era, and therefore, it needs policy support from the government to move forward.
"We want to export the best products, not cheap ones. Product diversification is essential now," he added.
LeatherTech Bangladesh is a popular international trade show on machinery, components, chemicals, and accessories for the leather, footwear, and leather products sector of Bangladesh.
Around 200 companies from at least 10 countries including Bangladesh will showcase their products in this edition of the exhibition, which will remain open to visitors from 11am to 7pm till Friday.
Nandagopal K, director of ASK Trade and Exhibitions Pvt Ltd, and Shaheen Ahamed, chairman of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, among others, were present at the opening ceremony of the trade show.