Furniture: The Promising Sector of Bangladesh

Bangladesh started her journey of external trade during the year 1971-72 with an export earnings of US $348.42 million from 37 products to 68 destinations. Over the years different sectors have established global market and some are on the way to promote the product in the global market. Bangladesh enjoyed duty-free quota free access to the EU and some other markets of similar type. Although more than 750 items are being exported to more than 168 countries, the number and share of major products is still not satisfactory. This is high time for us to diversify our export basket. Furniture is one of such sectors that is now ready to enter into the international market.

As the cost of labour is getting higher day by day, being a labor-sufficient country Bangladesh can easily avail of the opportunity of developing the furniture industry.

Government has taken measures to position our furniture and home furnishing products to overseas markets. This sector has been identified as one of the Highest Priority Sectors in the export policy for 2018-2021.Export earning is on the rise every year:

(Figures in Million US $)
Name of Product Financial Year-wise Export
Furniture 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Export Earnings ► 46.26 52.53 63.18 74.89 76.41 79.47

In order to boost up the export of furniture from Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has been organizing Bangladesh Furniture & Interior Décor Expo (BFID) since 2012. The 5th episode of this Expo was held in 2018. The next BFID Expo is scheduled to be organized in Kolkata, India. An efficient marketing channel for supplying quality goods according to global demand is the pressing need of the day. Initiative has been undertaken to meet the requirements of both the producers and the buyers involved in international business of furniture and allied products. This Expo may turn into a world-class platform of matchmaking. The capability and competitive advantages of this sector are being displayed before the overseas buyers and visitors.

Our manufacturers showcase the glorious tradition including their experiences and thus they are getting themselves fit to meet the challenges prevailing in the modern international market. Bangladesh does not get as much forest resources as may be sufficient to meet the optimum demand of timber logs to meet the demand of both local and foreign markets. So, manufacturers are to import woods, for the export-oriented factories which are FSC certified. In the case of utilizing local wood, the department of forestry has been designated to introduce FSC certification as mandatory. It is being implemented in order to reduce the unexpected negative impact on our forest resources. Besides, emphasis has been given to the production of boards, metal, jute and plastic-based furniture which is resulting in setting up of a number of manufacturing units in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and a few companies are conducting studies on the viability of commercial production of Jute-plastic based furniture.

Bangladesh, with the ample advantage of manpower, can avail this opportunity. Government has been providing 15% cash incentive against export of furniture products. Moreover Export Promotion Bureau has recommended to grant bonded warehouse facility in favor of the semi or partially export-oriented factories against import of raw-materials. Thus their products will be able to become more competitive in price. Duty-draw-back will be made possible by these factories against import of raw-materials and our products will be more competitive in price.

Export volume of furniture products during FY 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 were $63.18, $ 74.89 , $ 76.41,and 76.47 million respectively.

The country of destinations includes the Middle East, India, Canada, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, the US, Belgium and other European countries.

With the supports being extended by the government, furniture sector is expected to create a satisfactory position in the global market which will ultimately result into our economic development.