A lack of efficiency in Bangladesh’s ports is largely responsible for the decline in earnings from the RMG export to the US, said Md Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Following a meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat on Wednesday, he said: “The great problem facing Bangladesh’s RMG sector lies with lead time. In today's competitive markets, buyers want their goods delivered within a very short time. But manufacturers in Bangladesh require unreasonably longer lead time compared to other countries. As a result, our exports to the US have seen a decline.”
The BGMEA leader further said to reduce the lead time, it was necessary to improve the efficiency in the ports to make sure products were delivered in time.
“Also, we need to establish more textile mills to meet our local demands to reduce the lead time,” he said.
The meeting was aimed at discussing the reasons for the drop in RMG export earnings from the US, the largest single export destination for Bangladeshi garment products.
According to Otexa data, between January and August of this year, Bangladesh's RMG exports to the US reduced by 5.64%, dropping to $3.5 billion from $3.71 billion during the corresponding period last year.
US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, too, suggested enhancing the capacity of the country’s existing ports.
If Bangladesh does not make the ports more efficient, it will fall behind other competitors, she observed.
“We have talked about the RMG sector. It is… important to emphasise and recognise how important the sector has been to the development of Bangladeshi economy,” she said.
The US envoy further said as the RMG sector would remain an important part of Bangladesh’s economy for years to come, it was a crucial period for the sector for which the US wanted to work together as a partner of Bangladesh to make sure the industry was strong and that both labour rights and safety of RMG workers were ensured.
Calling the Rohingya problem an enormous humanitarian crisis, she commended the response of Bangladesh and its people to Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Rakhine, Myanmar.
“We want to see the end of the violence…,” she said, urging the Myanmar government to take measures in line with the recommendations made by Advisory Commission on Rakhine State to ensure that the refugees are safe and can return home.
Bernicat also said the US was ready to help the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments in the repatriation process.