Promising apparel buyer Japan wants FTA with Bangladesh

BDApparelNews Desk
27 January 2019  

National flags of Bangladesh and Japan. Photo Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune

National flags of Bangladesh and Japan. Photo Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune

Japan has expressed interest in signing a free trade agreement with Bangladesh, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said.

Hiroyasu Izumi, Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh, showed the willingness when he met with the minister at his secretariat office on January 23, 2019.

“Japan is a very trusted friend of Bangladesh and doesn't have any political agenda. So, it is very easy to work with Japan,” Minister Kamal said.

Izumi said the Japan International Cooperation Agency is Bangladesh's biggest development partner and the assistance it provides is Japanese taxpayers' money. “It is the reflection of love from the people of Japan,” he said.

Minister Kamal requested the ambassador to increase the foreign investment in Bangladesh – to which Izumi responded positively.

JAPAN EMERGING AS MAJOR BUYER

Asian nation Japan emerged as a potential buyer of Bangladesh’s apparel items during the fiscal 2017-18. During that fiscal, the growth witnessed was 13.7 per cent.

Last fiscal, the total amount of export to the Asian country was US $1.1 billion during 2017-18, occupying over 3 per cent of Bangladesh’s total export basket – the top spot being taken by knitwear products at US $444 million, followed by woven garments at US $401 million, and home textiles at US $47 million.

In the first six months of this fiscal, July-December 2018, exports amounted to over US $547 million, making an impressive gain of over 51 per cent. This market remained among the top growing markets for Bangladesh throughout 2018.

Knitwear items fetched US $304 million from this market, marking a rise of over 61 per cent. Woven items fetched US $243 million, rising by more than 39 per cent.