Dhaka: Bangladesh knitwear export to South Africa will increase three times in five years subject to the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers and simplification of visa and banking procedures. Bangladesh is the second largest knitwear exporter of the world and also aims to be the second largest knit exporter in S Africa after China. The country's export to South Africa grew by 33.48 per cent during the July-April period of current fiscal year.
These were revealed at a discussion meeting on 'Fostering Bilateral Trade between Bangladesh and South Africa: Challenges and Ways Forward' with the South African delegation headed by Anil Sookla, deputy director general (DDG) of Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), ministry of foreign affairs, South Africa and BKMEA leaders held in the city Tuesday.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) -- the apex body of knit product manufacturers-requested the South African government to remove the barriers in a bid to raise the bilateral trade between the two countries.
"We are very much happy that the South African delegation has shown interest in Bangladesh knitwear and travelled down to Bangladesh to scout for scopes for bilateral business," Md Hatem, second vice president of BKMEA said.
However, the bilateral trade between these two countries has not reached the level of expectations, he said adding various trade barriers have put negative impact on this stodgy development. Bangladesh's export, especially RMG faces high tariff and other non-tariff barriers including difference in banking regulations and implementation methodology, absence of South African mission in Bangladesh - a reason why Bangladeshi traders cannot visit South Africa easily, lack of effective communication between business communities of both countries, geographical distance between Bangladesh and South Africa and not being acquainted with multi-dimension factors of Bangladesh knitwear Sector.
The nearest mission of South Africa is located in Sri Lanka and for a businessman to stay over 15 days to get visa in Sri Lanka sometimes is highly impossible, he explained.
BKMEA requested the South African delegation to source from Bangladesh due to quality products at the most competitive price in the world, strong backward linkage facility, excellent port management of Bangladesh, he explained adding "Finally we look forward to have a special advantage from South Africa as Bangladesh is an LDC."
"I hope that the blocks have been explained as barrier to trade development between Bangladesh and South Africa will be resolved by the South African Government and allow us to increase trade volume," the BKMEA leader said.
The delegation informed that the barriers will be removed through government to government level initiative. They also called on Bangladeshi businessmen to invest in South African manufacturing industry not only to do business with S Africa but also with the rest of the world.