An interview with the BGMEA President

AnnisulHuqAnnisul Huq, the current president of BGMEA is Chairman of Mohammadi Group, a leading conglomerate of RMG factories, and TechnoVista, a top software exporting company in Bangladesh, which also caters to the local market. During the past couple of months, he has been vocal, expressing concern about the probable consequence of MFA phase out and its impact on the textile sector. His views have caught quite a bit of media attention. However, the face of Annisul Huq isn’t new on TV, he is also one of the most popular TV anchor of the country. The reporters of Cotton Bangladesh had a pleasant and informative discussion with Mr. Annisul Haque on 15th September.

The discussion with the President of BGMEA began with a question on MFA phase out and what he thought the consequences would be. He said, that although there would no longer be any quota in the USA market at the end of 2004, he was hopeful that there could yet be a good market in USA, because of their willingness to provide Bangladesh with trade benefits through GSP. However, it would require, strong proactive initiative from the government to avail those benefits.

“We cannot interact with USA directly, being a business association, it is a matter to be negotiated between the Governments.”- He pointed out.

He further mentioned that “Canada, Australia, Japan have become new markets for Bangladesh RMG, due to the trade benefits that they have provided, and we are focusing on these countries. We are also hopeful about the EU market.”

When Annis was asked about his role as the new president of BGMEA, he smiled his characteristic pleasant smile, which probably said, “Well, it’s a tough job!”

He explained that he was trying hard, along with the other members of the association, for the development of the entire textile sector, particularly the RMG sector.

“We have been persistently persuading the Government and the concerned authorities and spelling out the possible disaster the RMG sector could face from 2005. As a remedial measure we have suggested developing Central Bonded Warehouse (CBW) facilities and taking positive measures on Rules of Origin.” said Annis.

“The RMG sector in the country needs special attention from the Government to protect and promote this sector, which is a key source of revenue for the country. Some of the initiatives that could be taken are, trying to get duty free access to USA market, to allow establishment of Central Bonded Warehouse (CBW), lobbying for change in EU’s Rules of Origin to get full GSP facilities, reduction of Bank charges, shipping charges and insurance premium rates,” he added.

The president of BGMEA further explained, “China and India are considered as power houses, which will unleash in the post MFA era. That would pose as a major threat for Bangladesh, because they would have a marked edge in woven textile. On the other hand, only 20 per cent of the requirement of woven textiles in the country’s RMG sector can be met from local sources. We believe that introduction of CBW could decrease the lead time and increase price competitiveness.”

“We are trying, as much as an association can, to look for new markets for our products. BGMEA will organize fairs in Japan and Australia, who have recently provided trade benefits to Bangladesh, to introduce its products to the new customers. A fair was also organized in Canada.” Annis informed.

He also informed that this year, BATEXPO will hold seminars to discuss a number of important topics. A ten-member buyers’ delegation from the European Union, of the Euro Bangla Apparels 2005 project, under Asia invest II program, is likely to visit BATEXPO 2004. With a further note of hope, the President of BGMEA informed that the Managing Director, Southeast Asia, of WAL-MART, one of the most important buyers of apparel in the world will visit Bangladesh soon. This would be the first visit of any high official of WAL-MART to Bangladesh.

The sky was overcast with dark clouds on the day the reporter of Cotton Bangladesh met with Annisul Huq. He spoke of some dismal probabilities that resembled the cloudy sky. However, during the interview, he flashed his bright smile a few times, while he spoke about possibilities, only if appropriate strategies could be adopted.

Original Article is Published on : Cotton Bangladesh
By Saad F. Chowdhury

Link to the Original Article