The country’s ceramic industry has seen exponential growth over the last decade with growing export earnings even after meeting a major portion of domestic demand.
Local ceramic manufacturers are now exporting tiles, sanitary and tableware to more than 50 countries while investment in this sector increased manifold over the years.Sector insiders said around 62 ceramic manufacturers are now producing tiles, porcelain, tableware and sanitary products in the country, creating investments of around Tk 10,000 crore.
Local manufacturers have augmented the base of this sector and now meeting the growing local demand for ceramic products, lessening dependency on foreign products.
In FY 2017-18, the ceramic sector earned $52 million from exports, exceeding the target by almost $9 million, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.
Sector insiders said Bangladeshi ceramic products are gaining more focus in the international market owing to the trade war between the US and China. Ceramic is one of the 100 items from China that the US government imposed new duty on.
EPB data shows that the country’s ceramic exports set a new record during the first two months of this current fiscal. During July-August, local exporters shipped ceramics worth $29.59 million with around 300 per cent rise over the correspondent period of last fiscal.
Sector insiders said domestic producers will benefit further this fiscal in the wake of increased US tariffs on Chinese products, including ceramics.“A diversified product base with competitive prices helped the sector boost its exports,” said Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BCMEA) general secretary Irfan Uddin.
He also said the trade war between China and the US would help boost export of Bangladeshi ceramic products, adding that local exporters are focusing to reap the benefit of US tariff hike on Chinese ceramic products.
Ceramic manufacturers are now getting 10 cash incentives from the government, which has helped expand the market, he said.
Local ceramic company Monno Ceramic started producing ceramic products for the first time in the country in 1985. Since then, many entrepreneurs set their footmark in this potential sector. Now, many other Bangladeshi ceramic brands, such as Shinepukur, Farr, RK, Akij, DBL, Standard, Stella, Euro Bangla, Star, Paragon have created impressive market reputation both home and abroad.
Currently, local ceramic manufacturers are exporting their products more than 50 countries including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France and Italy. The US is the biggest market for the local ceramic products.
BCMEA sources said apart from export, local companies are now meeting the major demand of the growing local market. Local companies now meet around 90 per cent demand for tableware, 70 per cent tiles demand and more than 80 per cent of the sanitary products demand in the local market.
Sector insiders said the main challenge facing the local ceramic industry is the shortage of raw materials. They said lowering the import duty on the raw materials would help lower the production in the ceramic industry.