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Born in US, now made in Bangladesh!

Dhaka hopes to corner 10 per cent of America's multi-billion jean market.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2006 16:00 IST

Jean may have originated in America, but Bangladeshi brands are now invading Western markets as Dhaka hopes to corner 10 per cent of America's multi-billion jean market.

'Envoy' and 'Sasha' are among the Bangladeshi brands that have made their presence felt in the US and in the European Union nations, the New Age daily reported Sunday.

Cheap labour and competitive prices have made Bangladesh a world leader in a market that is estimated at $70 billion, it said quoting a major exporter of the clothing item, market analysts and the chief of a major western retailing chain.

Trousers, mostly jeans, topped Dhaka's export basket in the last fiscal, fetching $2.07 billion, which was 42 per cent higher than the previous year's earning.

"Global market reports reveal that Bangladeshi trouser makers are beating fast their competitors in the US and EU markets and grabbing significant market shares," says the report.

While India, another major exporter does not figure in the newspaper's reckoning, New Age says that Bangladesh has beaten Mexico and China, thanks to some interim restrictions placed by authorities in those countries.

According to the US commerce department, Bangladeshi exporters doubled their share to 2.33 per cent in the US market in 2005 and commanded over 5 per cent share in the first quarter of 2006.

During this period, the share of Mexico - the number one supplier - shrank to 37 per cent from 43 per cent in 2005, while the supply from China - the second biggest exporter - dipped to 1.93 per cent from 6.45 per cent.

If the trend continues, Bangladesh would have at least 10 per cent share in the US denim trousers market by the yearend, analysts said.

In the first quarter of 2006, Bangladeshi exporters sold at $78 per dozen of trousers in the USA, against $99 of China and $102 of Mexico.

Export performance in the European market is also impressive. The latest report from the European Commission shows Bangladesh had consolidated its leading position in EU's jeans market during the first half of 2006.

"We see a brighter future for Bangladeshi trousers and denims as those are very competitive," said Pearl Kerlsson, chief executive of Bangladesh operation of H&M, a top global retailer especially in EU market.

"We are undoubtedly the most competitive denims suppliers and this is why more buyers are diverting from other countries," said Abdus Salam Murshey, the immediate past vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Salam said his Envoy Denim is booked with advance orders. Bright prospects inspired him in venturing into fabric production.

Envoy's Taka 1 billion-($14.5 million)-plus modern denim unit will go into production soon. At least one dozen other firms have invested more than Taka 10 billion during the last one year in the sector, Salam said.

First Published: Sep 03, 2006 14:43 IST