POST TIME: 16 April, 2019 01:02:06 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 April, 2019 01:03:04 AM
9-month furniture export posts 20pc growth

9-month furniture export posts 20pc growth

The exports of furniture increased by 20 per cent in July–March on a year-on-year basis, thanks to innovative design and quality, rising local investments, exploration of new markets, affordable labour force and modern technologies.

These factors have helped the country achieve a double digit growth for a couple of years in succession, said industry insiders.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the furniture sector recorded export earnings of $54.60 million in nine months in the 2018–19 financial year. This was up from the $45.50 million recorded for the same period in the previous fiscal year, thus recording a robust growth of 20 per cent.

Selim H Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners’ Association (BFIOA) and also the owner of Hatil Complex, told The Independent that Bangladesh has started penetrating and exporting their products to new markets such as India, which is eventually helping the increase in export earnings.

Hatil has been exporting furniture to different places of India for the past two years. “We are currently exporting our products to West Bengal and Punjab in India. From May, we are going to open showrooms in Kashmir, Patna and Srinagar among other places,” he added.

Rahman said given the advantage of short distance, it’s convenient for Bangladesh to export products to India.

“Another reason for India importing products from us is because they don’t have to pay import duty, whereas they have to pay 10 per cent duty if they import products from China,” he said.

Rahman explained that China used to be the highest furniture-sourcing country in the world. “Now, it has shifted from labour-intensive to high-tech industries because their labour cost has gone up. This has opened up opportunities for Bangladesh in this sector,” he added.

Also, more and more brands were investing in the sector to avail the 15 per cent cash rebate declared by the government on the export of furniture. “So, it’s high time for us to invest more in this sector,” he said.

The BFIOA president said around 15 to 20 full-fledged furniture factories were coming up every year.

Bangladesh exports furniture to Middle East countries, India, Canada, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, the US, Belgium and other European countries.

The products have become famous because of their fine quality and innovative designs, said Rahman.

Hatil Furniture exports products worth around $150,000 to Bhutan, the Middle East, Canada, and Nepal every month, he added.

Rahman said the domestic furniture market has shown an annual growth rate of 20-25 per cent. “The local furniture industry is growing fast because of the rising purchasing capacity of consumers. Researchers are trying to understand their needs, demand, and affordability,” he added.

New designs, modern technology and innovative products have jacked up the demand for furniture in the local market, he noted.

Asked about the local market size, Rahman replied that though there is no statistical data, it would be approximately Tk 4–4.5 thousand crore.

Describing the challenges faced by furniture exporters, Rahman said, “Raw materials are still being imported. On an average, we pay 55–60 per cent import duty on these materials. This hikes the production cost and consequently the final prices of the products are increased.”

He added: “We need more investment in backward integration sector of furniture so that raw materials could be sourced 100 per cent locally and cost could be reduced

as well.”