In keeping with the biggest World Cup rivalry, which Latin American country wins in business with Bangladesh?
Entire Bangladesh enjoys the matches of Brazil and Argentina during the Fifa World Cup season with lots of anticipation and excitement.
Bangladeshi football fans across the country are mostly divided between these two teams and their love often gets reflected via social media posts and trolls, wearing jerseys, hoisting flags, and rallies.
Just like the Bangladeshi fans of Brazil and Argentina wear yellow or white-blue jerseys during the World Cup season, a number of people in these two countries also wear clothes with a “Made in Bangladesh” tag.
Bangladesh exports apparel items to 201 countries and territories including Brazil and Argentina. Clothes made in Bangladesh are available in the renowned brand and retail shops of these two South American countries.
Bangladesh exports almost the same products to Brazil and Argentina including medicines, plastic products, leather products, jute products, toys, mattresses, and medical equipment.
However, the staple export item of Bangladesh — apparel goods — leads the export basket to both countries.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh imports more than it exports from Brazil and Argentina.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported products worth $110 million to Brazil in the 2021-22 fiscal year (FY) and among them, RMG products were worth $106.63 million.
On the other hand, Bangladesh imported products worth $2.25 billion from Brazil in the last FY, with the majority of them being sugar, coffee, cotton, wheat, oil seeds, iron, and steel, Bangladesh Bank data stated.
Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that since 2009, they have been working to capture the market of Brazil and Argentina.
“The two major problems in Brazil’s market are the high import duty and currency devaluation,” he added.
He also said that Brazil is a very big and potential market and some brands are exporting apparel items to the country despite its high duty.
“There are many opportunities to export to Brazil. We have also discussed free trade and other benefits. Although there is not much progress yet, we are working on it,” he added.
Designtex Knitwear exports sweaters to Brazil. KM Rafiqul Islam, managing director of the company said that Brazil is very promising among non-traditional markets.
BGMEA Director Mohiuddin Rubel said that many manufacturers export to Brazil.
“Latin America is a very big market. There is an opportunity to export in bulk quantities. As their purchasing power is good, it can be a good destination for market expansion,” he said.
Bangladesh also exports pharmaceutical products and some plastic products to the country as well.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh exported products worth $9.5 million in FY2021-22 to Argentina. Apparel goods account for more than 88% of the export worth $8.4 million.
Apart from apparel goods, Bangladesh also exports jute items, leather items, plastic items, and toys to the country.
Bangladesh imported products worth $791 million in the last FY from Argentina where cotton, fats and oils, and wheat were the main products, said the Bangladesh Bank data.
Jams Knitwear Ltd exports products to Argentina. Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Sarder Akber Sadique, managing director of the company said that a buyer from the country imports products from them.
“We earn a little amount by exporting products to Argentina. However, we have many potentials to grab the market,” he added.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said that like Brazil, the import duty of Argentina is also high, which is a barrier to grabbing this market.
Brazil is a big source of cotton, the prime raw material of the RMG sector. In recent times, Brazil expressed its eagerness to export more cotton to Bangladesh.
In an interview with Dhaka Tribune recently, Julio Cezar Busato, chairman of the Brazilian Association of Cotton Growers (ABRAPA), spoke about Brazil’s plans.
Currently, Brazilian cotton has a market share of 13% in Bangladesh, which is also the third-largest importer of Brazilian cotton.
An official from Zaber and Zubair Fabrics (Noman Group) said that they import a large amount of cotton from Brazil due to a lower price and higher quality.