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Govt moves to boost exports of diversified jute products

The textile and jute ministry has listed 232 diversified jute products to boost exports of goods made from the natural fibre, said a senior official.

The list has already been sent to the finance ministry for circulation, said Nasima Begum, joint secretary of the ministry.

The ministry in June 2016 formed a committee to define diversified jute goods and prepare a list of items to be eligible for the 20 percent cash subsidy against exports.

The panel finalised the list that includes shopping bags, curtains, cushion cover, pillow cover, sofa cover, table mats, flower vases, storage items, indoor and outdoor gardening materials, and lifestyle products like shoes.

“We hope these products will get the incentive,” said Nasima, also the executive director of Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC).

The move comes as many jute goods producers are facing problems in receiving cash incentive in the absence of any list of diversified jute products and any definition of diversified jute goods.

To enjoy the benefit, exporters will have to get certification from JDPC that their products are diversified jute goods, Nasima said.

“We expect the listing of products will facilitate the growth of export. We urge the government to issue notification so that exporters reap benefits,” said Md Rashedul Karim, convener of Bangladesh Jute Diversified Product Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

The incentive will boost the competitive edge of Bangladesh’s exporters in the global market.

Due to higher production costs, Bangladesh’s diversified jute goods producers have to face tough competition, mainly from their Indian counterparts, in the global market.

This deters local producers from getting a bigger slice of the global market, he said. The annual demand for shopping bags stands at around 500 billion pieces globally, Karim said.

“This is a huge market,” he said, adding that the market for natural fibre-based products is rising 5-7 percent every year. Despite the bright prospects, diversified jute goods got little attention from policymakers earlier.

“But the recent move by the government will go some way towards changing that situation. Now, we have to give importance to research and development.”

Karim urged the Bangladesh Bank to include diversified jute goods under its refinancing scheme for eco-friendly or green products.

The export of diversified jute goods has edged up in recent years because of increased demand, he said.

In fiscal 2010-11, export of diversified jute goods brought Tk 300 crore. The amount soared to Tk 700 crore in fiscal 2015-16, he added.