DHAKA, April 4 (BSS) - The handicraft industry can be turned into a billion dollars industry if policy support is provided like the RMG industry, said leaders of handicraft exporters association.
"We can develop the handicraft industry into a billion dollars one if incentives are given," said SU Haider, president of Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufactures and Exporters Association (Banglacraft).
Haider was talking to BSS on the sidelines of a seminar `Opportunity of Exploring Handicrafts, home textiles and Leather -Shoe in the US market through MAGIC Show' at Sonargaon Hotel here today.
Men's Apparel Guild in California' (MAGIC) and Lord Incorporate jointly arranged the seminar presided over by director of the MAGIC show Bob Berg.
Former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury, Executive Director of Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) M Moniruzzaman, director Mahbubur Rahman, Lord Incorporate managing partner Probir Kanti Das and partner Dewan Taj Ahmed also spoke at the seminar.
A good number of handicrafts, home textiles, leather and shoe exporters shared their views about the product diversification and potential export destinations.
Haider said the labour intensive handicraft industry is hundred per cent value added one and some 50 lakh people are directly involved in it. "The government should take steps to set up a display- cum- design center so that entrepreneurs can display their products."
Although the sector exports approximately US$10 million and sales Taka 500 crore locally every year, it has no HS (harmonized system) code, he said.
Abul Hasan said Bangladesh has become the second largest destination for RMG outsourcing in the world. Bangladesh's finished items such as handicrafts and leather goods can grab Chinese market shares utilizing the opportunity of high labour cost there.
Referring to the World Trade Organization (WTO) director- general Pascal Lamy's comment on the slowing of Eurozone market in the coming days, Hasan said Bangladesh has no other option but to diversify its exports.
Bob Berg said the US imported footwear products worth US$18.8 billions, an increase by 15.7 per cent from 2009. Bangladesh can win huge export orders of handicrafts, home textiles, leather and shoe from the US market as it is now diversifying import source instead of largely depending on China due to high labor cost there, he added.
He listed high labour cost, shortage of labour, continuous devaluation of currency and rising costs of electricity, environmental requirements and new safety laws in China are the major concerns of US buyers.