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Bangladesh’s footwear and leather exports show growth, but country still lags behind Vietnam in production of high-quality products
August 6, 2014
Bangladesh has experienced a healthy growth in footwear exports this year. According to the latest statistics from the country’s Export Promotion Bureau, the South Asian nation’s footwear exports have totaled USD 550 million between July 2013 and June 2014, growing 28% compared to a similar period in the previous year.
The agency’s numbers also reveal that the country’s leather exports have hit a record-setting USD 747 million during the same period, growing 29% over the last 12 months. Combined together, the global exports of Bangladesh’s leather and footwear industries now total USD 1.3 billion, representing a 29% growth in sales abroad.
Exporters have remarked that one of the key factors explaining Bangladesh’s industry growth is the competitive pricing of the nation’s products. Just as importantly, increasing production costs in China and the strengthening of the Chinese yuan have resulted in orders redirected from China to other countries in the region.
However, experts note that Bangladesh still has some ways to go in terms of producing high-quality footwear. Workers in the footwear industry in Bangladesh are not as skilled as in Vietnam or China, countries with a longer history of producing quality footwear products.
Many brands seeking high quality footwear and requiring special attention to detail or execution of complex design specs are choosing Vietnamese shoe factories as an alternative to their increasingly costly Chinese counterparts. Recent figures have shown that Vietnam footwear exports have been growing robustly, totaling USD 3.9 billion in sales to the US in the first half of the year.