Leather has long been touted as the next big sector after readymade garments in terms of exports and some experts believe it has the potential to touch US $ 10 billion in exports by 2025.
“It is possible to export leather and leather goods to the tune of US $10 billion by 2025 as we have a lot of comparative advantages,” maintained M. Abu Eusuf, Professor of the Department of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka while participating in a programme at Asia Foundation, attended by tanners, labour leaders, experts and leather goods exporters in capital Dhaka recently.
However, to achieve that Bangladesh has to improve compliance, protect labour rights and obtain international certification within a short time, M. Abu Eusuf felt.
It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh Government has a target to export US $ 5 billion worth leather and leather goods by 2021.
Last year the country’s export receipt from the leather sector was US $ 1.2 billion.
“The garment sector could earn more than US $ 34 billion from exports. Then why can’t the leather and leather goods industry do the same,” asked Eusuf underlining that tanneries should produce goods at eco-friendly factories and obtain the Leather Working Group (LWG) certification.
Because of poor compliance and working conditions in the leather sector as well as a lack of the LWG certification, Bangladeshi tanners have to sell tanned leather at 40 per cent below the international rates as per reports.
Director for Programme at Asia Foundation, Sadat S. Shibli, moderated the dialogue held during the event.