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Illegally imported fabrics flood market: BTMA

Local industry hit hard

FE Report | May 14, 2018 00:00:00

The domestic market has been flooded with illegally imported yarn and fabric, hitting the local industry hard, industry people alleged.

As a result, a huge quantity of locally produced items has remained unsold, they said.

They alleged that foreign yarn and fabric are entering the country through smuggling, border hats and misuse of bonded warehouse facility, thus threatening the survival of local producers.

Acting president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) Mohammad Ali Khokon made the allegations while talking to a group of reporters at its headquarters in the city on Saturday.

Its vice-president Hossain Mehmood and director Khorshed Alam were also present.

The BTMA has received such complaints from some 315 mills, including 15 big mills, Khokon said.

"Textile mills, especially those producing fabrics for local market, are struggling to survive as they are losing competitiveness due to illegal import of a large quantity of clothing fabrics," he added.

Although the volume of commercial imports of fabrics is meager because of high import duty, a huge quantity of sarees, three-pieces and other clothing from India, China and Pakistan are flooding the local market, he alleged.

Since fabrics and other clothing are being imported illegally without any duty, they are cheaper than local items, he explained.

The BTMA alleged that over 0.8 million or 1.0 million pieces of women's clothing, including sarees and three-pieces, are entering the country illegally through 17 boarder hats and are being carried to the capital by trains.

"Moreover, polyester and viscose yarn, other blended yarn and 24-80 count yarn imported through bonded warehouse facility are available in Narayanganj, Madhabdi, Babur Hat, Narsingdi, Pabna, Sirajganj and other parts of the country," the BTMA leader said, adding that local millers have failed to compete with these illegal items.

Citing the official data, he said the volume of commercial import of fabrics and clothing is almost zero, whereas the market is flooded by imported items.

"It proves that these items are entering the country illegally and the misuse of bonded warehouse facilities is taking place," he added.

BTMA-member mills meet only 40-45 per cent of the woven fabric requirements of export-oriented garment factories after meeting almost the 100 per cent of local demand, said BTMA director Khorshed Alam.

But presently, as weaving mills can't use their full production capacity, dyeing mills were forced to reduce their capacity by 40 per cent, he added.

As a result, local items worth Tk 200 billion to Tk 250 billion have remained unsold since January 2018, Khokon added.

He said there are 0.34 million handlooms, 800 weaving mills and 250 dying factories in the country and they meet the local demand for sarees, lungi and other clothing.

But they are struggling for the last three years because of the illegal import of foreign fabrics, he said.

The BTMA leaders feared that if such a situation continues, local mills would be forced to close down.

They urged the government to launch drives to stop the sale of illegally imported yarn and fabrics and prevent misuse of bonded warehouse facility.

The trade body also demanded that sales of sarees, lungi and three-pieces at border hats be suspended until Eid-ul Azha.

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