Dhaka, August 28:

Bangladeshi knitwear manufacturers, especially those making T-shirts, are paying more attention to the US market in the post-multi fibre agreement (MFA) regime. The readymade garment producers in this category of merchandise have been doing well vis-à-vis exporters from other countries except China, the New Age daily reported today. The knitwear exporters,

who are set to organise a three-day long single-country fair in New York, expect that the knitwear market will expand to at least four times the present size within a couple of years. Earlier knitwear manufacturers were not keen on the US market as quota hassles during MFA discouraged them and limited the number of their products. Instead, they concentrated on the EU. Statistics released by the US commerce department showed that Bangladeshi T-shirts, the main item in the knitwear segment, have increased their share of the US market significantly. Bangladesh’s share of the US market increased to 1.4 per cent in the last six months, more than four times the 0.33 per cent share in 2004.

The corresponding export earning was over $11 million compared to $6 million the previous year. Compared to the first six months of 2004, this year export volume rose by 375 per cent, according to the commerce department. Fazlul Haque, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said, “We will be able to increase our share in the US knitwear market by four times within a couple of years.” BKMEA statistics show that 1,600 factories in Bangladesh manufacture knit-wear, and more than 70 per cent of them concentrate on T-shirts. Around 280 million T-shirts were exported from Bangladesh in 2003-04. US market analysts said that taking advantage of the end of the quota regime China, India, Bang-ladesh and Pakistan registered significant increases in shipments.