Bangladesh’s MMF Imports On The Rise

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Import of man-made fibre (MMF) as well as investment in its business is increasing in Bangladesh because of higher demand for polyester and viscose-made garment items worldwide. Local spinners imported 99,345 tonnes of polyester staple fibre (PSF) in 2020, up 3.4% from 96,077 tonnes a year ago, according to data from the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

Currently, 40 spinning mills import PSF fibre to make yarns to produce high-end garments, such as sportswear. The import of viscose staple fibre (VSF) rose last year as well as spinners brought in 72,504 tonnes of VSF, an increase of 36% year-on-year.

The import of MMF has been on the rise over the last few years because of the surge in demand of fabrics made from the fibre as an alternative to cotton. Nearly 30% of the US$ 8 billion investment in the primary textile sector in Bangladesh took place in the MMF segment, up from 20% three years ago, spinners said.

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Cotton’s domination in Bangladesh’s apparel exports however continues to increase. Bangladesh’s cotton apparel exports rose 74.14% in 2018-19, according to a study of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). The global trade of cotton-based apparel stands at around 35%. It shrank by 0.5% annually between 2007 and 2017.

The share of MMF-based garments in the global apparel trade is around 45%, and it grew at 5% compound annual growth rate during the decade.

In 2017, the global trade of MMF-based apparel was US$ 150 billion. Bangladesh had a 5% share in the segment, compared to 10% of Vietnam.

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Currently, more than 120 spinning mills out of a total of 500 have the production facility for PSF and VSF, according to BTMA. Member factories of the BTMA are expanding the production facility of PSF and VSF every year to meet the rising demand.

Out of 2,052,000 tonnes of fibre import of Bangladesh in 2018, the share of cotton was 93.57%, which highlighted the country’s reliance on the natural fibre. “While we can’t ignore the importance of the cotton-based market, the MMF-based clothing market bears strategic significance as far as our product diversification and higher-value-addition-led growth strategy is concerned,” said BGMEA President Rubana Huq.

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BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon said the import of MMF needed to be duty-free like cotton as the demand of yarn was increasing. The imposition of 5% VAT on the sales of yarn is a discouraging factor for the sector, he said.

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