Local apparel exporters want the foreign ministers of major importing countries to participate in the "Made in Bangladesh Week" – a mega event slated for 12-18 November in Dhaka showcasing sustainability strides being made by the Bangladesh readymade garment industry.
Bangladesh's key apparel markets include the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan has sent a letter to Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi recently, requesting him to invite the foreign ministers of these countries through the diplomatic channel.
The sourcing event, Made in Bangladesh Week, is the first of its kind and will feature the Third Apparel Summit to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Faruque Hassan in the letter wrote that the presence of the foreign dignitaries will make the inaugural ceremony and the whole programme more impactful.
Besides, he requested that the event be promoted in different countries and cities through commercial counsellors at Bangladesh missions abroad.
"We believe that we will be able to present Bangladesh's capacity and capability through this event, as our apparel industry makes all out efforts toward sustainability and excellence while Bangladesh prepares itself with better infrastructure and a better business environment," Faruque Hassan said.
According to the BGMEA, the apparel industry has undergone a massive transformation to ensure workplace safety, well-being of workers, and environmental sustainability. The industry has now positioned itself to pursue new areas of opportunity, growth and excellence.
The BGMEA says it wants to build a resilient ecosystem within the textile and clothing industry in collaboration with its key stakeholders in the supply chain. The event comes with the spirit of reuniting the industry to build a roadmap and draw a strategic alignment among the broader stakeholders toward a sustainable, resilient, modern, fair and equitable supply chain.
Apart from the Third Apparel Summit, the mega event will accommodate a number of programmes, such as Dhaka Apparel Expo, Sustainable Design and Innovation Award, the Sustainability Leadership Award, Made in Bangladesh Photography Award, NRB Award, Fashion Runway Show, Cultural Show, Launching of Bangladesh's Heritage Book, 101 Good Practices in the RMG Industry book and Colours of Bangladesh booklet.
"By all means, we are trying to showcase Bangladesh in a different light," added the BGMEA president.
Industry insiders said they are looking to brighter days ahead as foreign buyers themselves are speaking about increasing imports from Bangladesh by recognising the country as a good sourcing destination.
Besides, China's dominance in the world apparel export market has begun to decline.
Md Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of the BGMEA, told The Business Standard that because of a lack of branding of Bangladesh's apparel sector, exporters here get a maximum of $7 for a product, while exporters from even Turkey can sell at $8 to $8.5.
"But we can also be in a better position in terms of prices if our progress and the ability to make high-value garments are properly presented to buyers."
He noted that they now want to brand Bangladesh by presenting the real picture of our garment sector to the world.
In the fiscal 2021-22, Bangladesh's garment exports amounted to $42.61 billion, which is 35.47% more than in the previous year.
When the export of Chinese garments is decreasing amid the Russia-Ukraine war, people in the sector believe tensions between the United States and Europe with China are playing a role in Bangladesh's garment export growth.
The BGMEA hopes Bangladesh's exports to the Western markets will have a further uptick in the coming days despite surging inflation in Europe and the United States.