President of apparel exporters’ apex body BGMEA, M Siddiqur Rahman recently said there is a huge potential of collaboration between Bangladesh and India in the textile and apparel sector which can bring opportunities for both the countries. “We have a huge potential of collaboration between our countries in the textile and apparel sector. If we can complement each other, we will have a new horizon of opportunities,” he said.

The President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) made remark at a business-to-business (B2B) meeting between Bangladesh and India held at the BGMEA Bhaban in the city. A business delegation of India attended the B2B meeting with Bangladeshi apparel exporters with a view to strengthen trade relationship, especially in textile sector, between Bangladesh and India.

The 25-member delegation of Indian exporters of yarn and fabric led by Chairman of the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council of India Ujwal Lahoti and Head of Chancery of the Indian High Commission to Bangladesh Tseten Nordon Cargyal attended the meeting as part of the delegation’s four-day business tour here.

“I hope there will be more exchanges of delegation between our two countries in coming days,” said the BGMEA Chief. Rahman said Bangladesh and India share a long border and a number of custom ports as well as having many geographic advantages. But the trade relationship between the two countries has not yet achieved the desired result so far, the BGMEA chief said.

“In fact India is a highly potential market for us. The middle-class population in India is growing fast and their buying power is also increasing. Global brands and retailers are opening stores in India,” he said.

The trade between Bangladesh and India is growing every year. Because of duty free export of Ready Made Garments (RMG) products, export to India last year was $279 mn which was only $96 mn five years ago, said the BGMEA President.

“India is a highly potential market for us because of the population. Global brands and retailers are also opening their stores in India” he said adding that, “Moreover we import most of our cotton, fabrics and other materials from India to produce garments here.” He also said, there are some challenges including lack of capacity in the land custom ports, especially in Petrapole and non-payment issues, which are the major barriers. Tseten Nordon Cargyal said, India-Bangladesh relationship has grown exceptionally in the past few years.

Bangladesh’s garments export to India has increased. Half of India’s export to Bangladesh comprises of raw materials and machinery used by Bangladeshi industries, specially the garment industries, she said adding that, this meeting will create more scopes of business interaction between the two countries.

While large scale investments are taking place since the last few years, Bangladesh is an important trading partner of India, said Ujwal Lahoti.

He said there is a need of extending ties between the textile exporters and suppliers of Bangladesh and India. “This B2B meeting is the first milestone in the long term cooperation and business prospect between the members of BGMEA and TEXPROCIL,” he said. BGMEA Vice President (Finance) Mohammed Nasir also spoke, among others.