The Bangladeshi footwear industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, which saw an increase in exports by almost 700 percent in the last decade
The three-day-long "Bangladesh Leather Footwear and Leathergoods International Sourcing Show (BLLISS)-2019" will kick off in Dhaka on Thursday, aiming to explore new markets for Bangladeshi leather products.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the third edition of the event on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the city.
The Ministry of Commerce and the Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh are jointly organising the exhibition at Hall-1 of the International Convention City, Bashundhara.
Organisers said that this year they have tried to accommodate international brands, buyers, designers, fashion experts, industry leaders, sourcing agents, retailers, distributors, and potential foreign and local investors under one umbrella.
According to the World Footwear Yearbook 2017, the Bangladeshi footwear industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, which saw an increase in exports by almost 700 percent in the last decade.
Export of footwear and leather products revved up 761 percent to $855 million from $99 million in the last six years, according to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh.
The industry produced 399 million pairs of shoes annually, holding 1.6 percent share of the international footwear market, said industry insiders.
Moreover, Bangladeshi leather products enjoy tariff and quota-free access to major markets such as the European Union and Japan.
The government has set a target of $5 billion export earnings from the leather sector by 2021.
Industry people said Bangladesh has a long established tanning industry which produces around 2-3 percent of the world's leather from a ready supply of raw materials.
The government also provides support in the form of tax holidays for foreign investors, and duty-free imports of raw material and machinery for the country's export-oriented leather industry, said commerce ministry officials.
7th edition of LEATHERTECH Bangladesh 2019
Alongside BLLISS-2019, another exhibition titled "LEATHERTECH Bangladesh 2019" will also begin in the capital on Thursday, aimed at bringing global technology to the doorsteps of the local industry for its growth.
The ASK Trade and Exhibitions Pvt Ltd and the Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh are jointly organising the 7th edition of the exhibition at four halls of the International Convention City, Bashundhara.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi is scheduled to inaugurate the event as the chief guest.
The tradeshow will accommodate about 300 exhibitors from 20 countries.
Both the exhibitions will remain open every day from 10am to 6pm with free entry for visitors.
Industry people said the environmental compliance issue has dragged down the tanned leather trade. However, footwear and leather products have seen handsome growth riding on some compliant units and imported leather.
Hazaribagh, the former tannery estate of Bangladesh, had been grooming the industry since the independence of Bangladesh.
Leather industries at the estate had been bringing handsome foreign currency as the issue of compliance was not popular then. In the wake of the growing popularisation of the environmental compliance issue, the government shifted the tannery estate to the outskirts of Dhaka.