Bangladesh has emerged as one of the key suppliers of hats and caps in the global market. Its shipment of these products reached US$ 193.43 million in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2022-23, analysts said on Friday.
The country has secured seventh position in the global export market worth $12.4 billion, the FE analysis found.
Even during the ongoing global economic crunch, Bangladesh's export of headgears and caps has posted a 50 per cent growth during the July-November period of FY 23.
In the same period (July-Nov) of last FY, the country's exporters made shipments of products worth $129.25 million, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed.
Exporters and analysts said Bangladesh is likely to touch the $50-billion export-earning-mark within a couple of years by enriching its export basket through product diversification.
The government has set a target of exporting headgears and caps worth $410.10 million in the current FY, the Ministry of Commerce officials said.
In FY 2022, the local exporters sold such products worth $364.63 million to the overseas markets, as per the EPB data.
Although the Covid-19 impact affected the export of hats and caps in FY 2020, it started to recover from next FY. In FY 2021, the exporters shipped goods worth $226.38 million, which rose to $364.63 million in FY 2022.
The US, Europe, Russia, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, Singapore, Middle-Eastern countries, Central Asian nations, UK, and some African countries are the major importers of Bangladeshi hats and caps.
Meanwhile, China is the largest hat and headgear exporting country in the world.
It is consecutively holding the top position with its $5.4 billion (43.8 per cent share of the total $12.4 billion) export to various countries in 2021. China is followed by Italy, Vietnam, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.
The world's top three exporters of hats and caps - China, Italy and Vietnam - accounted for 55.1 per cent of these items' total international sales in the last calendar year.
In 2021, Bangladesh's export accounted for $468.1 million, which was 3.8 per cent of the global market share.
Among the top-10 headgear and cap suppliers in the world market, US (2.6 per cent), Poland (2.3 per cent) and Belgium (2.3 per cent) are the eighth, ninth and tenth largest suppliers, available data showed.
Bangladeshi exporters said most of the headgears and caps are manufactured in the Dhaka, Chittagong and Uttara (Syedpur) export processing zones (EPZs), while the rest are produced in different factories and cottage industries across the country.
Executive Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Ahsan H Mansur told the FE that hats and caps could be one of the promising products for the country's export basket diversification, as their year-on-year shipment growth is impressive.
Since China, the products' largest supplier, is shifting to high-tech industries, Bangladesh can tap the benefit and raise its export volume of headgears and caps.
The government should have pro-active policies to capitalise the Chinese diversion and upgrade the country's manufacturing capacity for grabbing 30-50 per cent of the global export share within the next few years, he added.