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    • https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/industry/terry-towel-soft-start-later-grow-billion-dollar-industry-451818 Jobaer Chowdhury 03 July, 2022, 10:30 am Last modified: 03 July, 2022, 10:33 am Terry towel: A soft start later to grow into a billion dollar industry Bangladesh’s export in towel and home textile segment now worth $1.2 billion a year Industry requires a few Ms at the beginning: manpower, money, method, and one other thing – an entrepreneur with a vision. The inception of Sonar Cotton Mills BD Ltd and its subsequent journey prove it again.   Rais Khan, a Pakistani-born US citizen, had the business foresight to grasp the towel-making potentials in Bangladesh in the 1980s. He left a top executive position in the global textile giant Franco Ferri Corporation to establish Sonar Cotton Mills in Chattogram Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in 1984. This is the first towel factory not only in the EPZ but also in Bangladesh, as annual export of towels and home textiles by local manufacturers has now reached $1.2 billion.    Sonar produces 30,000 kg of terry towels per month, as the company's export in FY2021-22 was more than $1.62 million. Sonar's products are now being sold at multinational shops such as Amazon.   Rais Khan's son Shariq Khan now runs the factory his father established 38 years ago. After completing his medical studies, Shariq joined the production unit in 2002 at his father's request.     In an interview with The Business Standard, Shariq – who is now the managing director of Sonar Cotton – shared the eventful story of the company and an expansion plan in the next two years.   Shariq said many workers from Feni, Mirsarai, Chattogram, Sitakunda and adjacent areas used to work at towel factories in Karachi in Pakistan before independence. Bangladeshis had a good reputation as skilled workers. In 1984, many of these workers joined Rais Khan's venture in the Chattogram EPZ.   "My father used to travel to Bangladesh regularly before 1971 as we had relatives here. He loved the country and saw the future potential of business after Bangladesh's independence," Shariq said. Rais Khan had been in the textile sector since the 1960s. He was a senior official of the textile giant Franco Ferri Corporation. Shariq said his father's experience in textiles led him to invest in Bangladesh. "My father consulted with MrFerri, the head of the Franco Ferri Corporation, about investing in Bangladesh. MrFerri supported him as he was our first client," said the Sonar MD.   He attributed the success of the local towel-making sector to the fashion quota system for least developed countries under which the USA used to source 1.2 million kg of towels from Bangladesh. But there were challenges and vulnerabilities, within the country and outside of it. Shariq said the first hit onthe factory was the 1991 cyclone, which inundated and eventually damaged the machinery. It took Rais Khan seven years to resume production in 1998.   Shariq said the business suffered severely during the 2007-08 global recession, forcing them to allow a local investor to pump money into the company.      According to the Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers & Exporters Association, 110 companies are producing home textile and terry towel items in the country. The factories employ nearly 65,000 workers and have investments totalling around $1.20 billion. The international market size of the textile segment is around $26 billion. According to the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza), Sonar Cotton has exported products worth $19.73 million since 2003. In 2002, Shariqflew from the US to join Sonar as his father became ill and died subsequently.   "Father told me, "I paid for your education from this factory. Now you should take charge." "The first time I came here, my father told me to go to the production lines first to understand the factory. He used to say that once you understand the work of the production unit, you will understand the business. Before sitting behind the desk, I worked at the production unit for six months," he recalled. Shariq said the firm is now sitting on new orders despite using its full manufacturing capacity. "We need to expand now. There are plans to set up a new factory in Mymensingh as our aim is to double production in the next two years," he said.
    • https://www.jamuna.tv/news/362119 পদ্মা সেতুর কারণে ঢাকায় বাড়বে গাড়ির চাপ, রিং রোড গড়ার নির্দেশ প্রধানমন্ত্রীর জাতীয় | 3RD JULY, 2022 2:37 PM বার্ষিক কর্মসম্পাদন চুক্তি স্বাক্ষর অনুষ্ঠানে প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা। পদ্মা সেতুর কারণে রাজধানী ঢাকায় বাড়বে যানবাহনের চাপ। তাই, রাজধানীর চারপাশে রিং রোড গড়ে তোলার নির্দেশ দিয়েছেন প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা। একই সাথে দক্ষিণাঞ্চলের শাকসবজির সুফল পেতে নতুন বাজার গড়ে তোলার পরিকল্পনার কথাও জানিয়েছেন তিনি। সেই সাথে, আবারও করোনার প্রকোপ বৃদ্ধি পাওয়ায় সকলকে স্বাস্থ্যবিধি মানার আহ্বানও জানান শেখ হাসিনা। রোববার (৩ জুলাই) সকালে বার্ষিক কর্মসম্পাদন চুক্তি স্বাক্ষর অনুষ্ঠানে যুক্ত হয়ে এ কথা জানান প্রধানমন্ত্রী। ওসমানি স্মৃতি মিলনায়তনে অনুষ্ঠিত হয় ২০২২-২৩ সালের বার্ষিক কর্মসম্পাদন চুক্তি স্বাক্ষর ও পুরস্কার প্রদান অনুষ্ঠান। গণভবন প্রান্ত থেকে যুক্ত হোন প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা। আলোচনায় প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, ক্ষমতায় এসে নির্বাচনী ইশতেহার ভুলে যায়নি আওয়ামী লীগ। টানা সরকারে থাকায় তৃণমূলের উন্নতি হচ্ছে। প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, করোনা মহামারির কারণে পুরো বিশ্বই ভয়াবহ অবস্থা পার করেছে। এরপরই রাশিয়া-ইউক্রেন যুদ্ধের কারণে বিশ্বব্যাপী দেখা দিয়েছে অর্থনৈতিক মন্দা। আমাদের মতো দেশে তো এর প্রভাব আরও বেশি পড়েছে। তবে এর মধ্যেও প্রতিটি মন্ত্রণালয় এবং সকল কর্মকর্তা, কর্মচারী আন্তরিকভাবে কাজ করেছে বলেই এত প্রতিকূলতার মধ্যেও দেশ এগিয়ে যাচ্ছে। পদ্মা সেতুর কারণে দেশের আত্মমর্যাদা বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে বলে উল্লেখ করেন শেখ হাসিনা। এ সময় তিনি যানবাহনের বাড়তি চাপ সামলানোর পরামর্শও দেন। প্রধানমন্ত্রী বলেন, ঢাকাকে ঘিরে রিং রোড গড়ার পরিকল্পনার অংশ হিসেবে কিছু কিছু জায়গায় কাজ শুরু হয়েছে। পণ্য পরিবহন, বাজারজাতকরণ এবং মানুষের চলাচল যাতে সহজ হয় সেই ব্যবস্থা করা হবে। রাজধানীর চারপ্রান্তে চারটি স্থায়ী কাঁচাবাজার গড়ে তোলার কথাও জানান প্রধানমন্ত্রী। তিনি বলেন, আমিনবাজারের দিকে আরেকটি মার্কেট হতে পারে। কেরানীগঞ্জ বা পোস্তগোলায় একটি হোলসেল মার্কেট করা হতে পারে। কামরাঙ্গিরচরেও আরেকটি মার্কেট হতে পারে। শহরের চার কোণায় চারটি মার্কেট হলে পণ্য সেখানে সে পৌঁছুতে পারবে। এতে গাড়ি শহরের ভেতর ঢুকবে না।
    • https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/economy/bangladesh/prospect-of-joining-rcep-bd-accession-to-pay-dividend-1656728876 Prospect of joining RCEP: BD accession to pay dividend  SYFUL ISLAM and REZAUL KARIM | Published:  July 02, 2022 08:27:57 | Updated:  July 02, 2022 21:07:27 Bangladesh's export may grow by 17 per cent and gross domestic product (GDP) 0.26 per cent if a free-trade agreement (FTA) is signed with member-states of the emerging Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc. The RCEP deal, which came into force in January this year, is considered high-quality, modern and comprehensive FTA between ten member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its five FTA partners. The ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, while its FTA partners are Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Korea. An outstanding feature of the RCEP is that it represents world's largest FTA, comprising about 30 per cent of global GDP and about a third of the world population. The economic cooperation bloc covers 2.3 billion people, contributes US$25.8 trillion or about 30 per cent of global GDP, and accounts for $12.7 trillion or over a quarter of global trade in goods and services, and 31 per cent of global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. A recent study of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) shows that bilateral trade of Bangladesh with RCEP member-countries is mostly concentrated towards goods trade. In the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, Bangladesh exported goods worth $3.9 billion and imported goods worth $24.5 billion. On the other hand, at the same time, the services export was $1.8 billion and import was worth $2.6 billion. Bangladesh enjoys preferential market access to many of the RCEP countries, either through preferential trade agreement (PTA) or through GSP facilities. After graduating from the least-developed country (LDC) status in 2026, the duty-free access will no longer be available except for reciprocal general preference under the Asia-Pacifica Trade Agreement (APTA). In such a situation, sustaining the consistent progress achieved by Bangladesh in bilateral export trade with some of the RCEP countries as well as availing the opportunity to some potential destinations in RCEP will be a real challenge. The study says RCEP includes some of the major export destinations as well as major import sources of Bangladesh. Considering the bilateral-trade scenario, RCEP remains more as an important partner from the Bangladesh perspective. Import from RCEP contributes around 43.92 per cent of the total global import of Bangladesh, 55.33 per cent of the total tax revenue and 58.56 per cent of total revenue from customs duty collected under home consumption, as of FY 2020-21. Thus, the probable accession of Bangladesh to RCEP may, however, have a negative impact on revenue generation from customs duty. Since some major import sources of Bangladesh like China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia are involved with RCEP, there is a threat of losing certain amount of revenue from these countries. More than 68 per cent of total merchandise exports to RCEP are under apparel- product category. Top twenty export items to RCEP mostly consist of apparel products and these twenty products constitute 64 per cent of total export items. The study found that the average most-favoured nation (MFN) tariff for Bangladesh has been comparatively higher than that of the RCEP members. It says the probable increase in import along with a comparatively protective regime of Bangladesh estimated a probable high revenue loss for Bangladesh compared to that of the RCEP. "However, as estimated trade creation would likely be higher than the trade-diversion effect for Bangladesh, it may generate additional revenue from other duties and charges, if not reduced due to a possible accession in RCEP," the study mentions. The Trade and Tariff Commission recommends that the government may express its positive stand regarding the accession of Bangladesh to RCEP through weighing all the pros and cons. In that case, domestic rules and regulations may require to be changed in some cases, if situation arises. Former BTTC member Dr Mostafa Abid Khan told the FE Friday that Bangladesh needs to reform various policies which will help lower revenue losses to be created due to the signing of FTAs. "Tariff policy and education-sector policy reforms are needed immediately," he points out and says capable human resource needs to be created. [email protected] [email protected]
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