Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked all concerned to pay the same importance given to readymade garments (RMG), to other export items, including jute, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, IT products and handicrafts to increase foreign earnings.
“We have to give attention to produce more new products and explore new markets (for export). We currently depend on a few products for export. It will not be wise to depend on one or two products for export as we have to go ahead confronting many hurdles,” she said.
She made the remarks while inaugurating the month-long 28th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF)-2024 at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center in Purbachal New Town, on the outskirts of the capital.
The fair is organized jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The Prime Minister said her government has been working to increase the export earnings to 150 billion US dollars by 2030 in line with the election manifesto-2024.
“The dateline is short. But it is possible to achieve any target if it is fixed,” she said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh’s knit and woven garments have been leading across the globe, she said, “Those who are getting advantages (from the government), have become successful. In that case, we have to create more scopes for other products.”
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is well ahead in jute, leather, pharmaceuticals, small indus-tries and IT sectors.
Besides, there are many products which are being exported, but in a limited scale.
“We have to find out those products and give more importance to them to expand the export bas-ket… to this end, I think, we have to give the similar importance given to garments, to others,” she said.
The Prime Minister asked all concerned to search for new markets as the purchase capacity of con-sumers of many countries have been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic and wars, particularly Russia-Ukraine war.
State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh and Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Presi-dent Mahbubul Alam spoke at the function.
Vice-chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) AHM Ahsan gave the address of welcome.
A video documentary on the government measures taken in the last 15 years for development and expansion of the trade and business and attract local and investment was screened at the function.
Local textiles, machineries, carpets, cosmetics, electrical and electronics, jute and jute products, household goods, leather goods including shoes, sports goods, sanitary ware, toys, stationery, crockery, plastic, melamine polymer, herbal and toiletries, imitation jewellery, processed food, fast food, handicrafts, home decor, furniture and other products will be displayed and sold in the fair.
Companies from Turkey, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Iran will exhibit their prod-ucts this year.
There are 351 stalls, including 16-18 pavilions for the foreign companies.
The entry fee of the fair has been fixed at Tk 50 for general visitors and Tk 25 for children below 12 years.
The fair will open at 10am and close at 9pm on weekdays. On weekends, the visitors can stay until 10pm.
Buses will be available from Farmgate to connect with Metrorail and Elevate Expressway to facili-tate travel to the fair.
The prime minister said the export volume has increased manifold in the last 15 years due to her government’s timely measures.
She said the living standard of the countrymen has also been upgraded with increasing their pur-chasing capacity, adding even the demand for products has raised as well.
“So, the markets for our products have also been created in our country.
We have been able to put the country on a dignified position upgrading the living standard of the people as we already ran the country for three consecutive terms,” she said.
Praising the role of export promotion bureau in enhancing the export, she said the trade fair is be-ing organised every year as part of the program to expand the market of exports.
Sheikh Hasina also stressed the need for enhancing the demand of Bangladeshi products in inter-national markets.
The prime minister said they have been attaching priority to economic diplomacy instead of politi-cal one.
“We have already given a message to our diplomatic missions to pursue economic diplomacy in-stead of political diplomacy (to increase trade, business and investments),” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the scope of multifaceted use of jute has been created with unearthing genome sequencing of the jute through research.
“We are conducting more research on it. There is huge scope to export jute and jute products as they have demand in global market due to its environment-friendly nature,” she said.
Describing the leather and leather goods as one of the major export items for Bangladesh, she said there is huge demand of the products made of jute and leather in international markets.
“So, we have to give more importance to these products,” she said.
The premier said the service sector appears to be potential for export as the country had earned around 8 billion US dollars in the last FY 2022-23.
She said the IT products earned around 27.5 US dollars last year.
The products of small industries have huge potential as export items, she said, referring to the tiles made of a special kind of soil in Satkhira which is being exported to Italy.
In this connection, the prime minister asked all concerned to give appropriate training to women as they can produce quality goods which can be exported.
She said her government has built Joyeeta Foundation building to ensure marketing of the prod-ucts of the small industries produced by the women at the village level.
The head of the government said they will build Joyeeta Foundation at upazila and district level.
“We have been taking measures to ensure marketing of the products produced by the women so that they can earn money through which they can create their position in the family and society,” she said.
The prime minister also announced ‘Handicrafts’ as the product of the year to give special focus on this sector due to its role in women empowerment.
“I am announcing the Handicraft as the product of 2024 for its great role in women empowerment, making women economically self-reliant and generating their employment,” she added.