Ceramic Industry manufacture of useful and ornamental articles from clay by shaping and hardening it in high temperature. The industry is basically a development of indigenous pottery works. Broadly, ceramics denote the manufacture of any product made from a non-metallic mineral hardened at high temperatures. Industrial ceramics comprise all industrially used solid materials that are neither metallic nor organic. Major ceramic products include glass, earthenware, porcelain, and white-ware, porcelain enamels, brick tiles and terracotta, refractories, cement, lime and gypsum and certain abrasives. Ceramic manufacturing is a gas-based, labour intensive and skills-oriented business. The types of ceramic products mainly produced in the local markets of Bangladesh include insulators, tiles, float glass, tableware, sanitaryware, and tamla (drinking water glass). There are over a dozen of ceramic factories in Bangladesh, which produce over 40,000 tonnes of ceramic products a year. Monno, Shinepukur, Bengal Fine, Standard, Peoples and National Ceramic are engaged in tableware while RAK, Fu Wang, China-Bangla and Mir are engaged in tiles and sanitary ware. Monno, Shinepukur, Bengal Fine and Peoples Ceramic are the major players in local ceramic tableware market. Bangladesh ceramic industry, which exports the products mainly to the EU countries and the US, imports raw materials from China, Rumania, Indonesia and Germany. Ceramic manufacturers also urged the government to reduce tariff on gas, used in the ceramic factories. It will help them compete in the international market. The export of tableware products has been registering more than 6.0 per cent yearly growth for the last ten years making a substantial dent in the US and European markets. Bangladesh exported ceramic tableware worth over $33 million in fiscal 2008-09, of which over 80 percent was destined to Italy, UK, USA, Germany, France, Canada and Sweden. Bangladesh Ceramic-ware Manufacturers' Association (BCMA) sources say the present investment in the country's ceramic industry is roughly about Tk 8.0 billion. The ceramic industry marked a 800 per cent export growth during the last one decade. The quality of products, such as dinner sets, tea and coffee sets, is much better than that of India and China.Of the products, ceramic table wares are being exported to about 50 countries including, the US and Canada, tiles to India, Nepal and Bhutan, and sanitary wares to the Middle East, specially the UAE. The industry sells ceramic products worth about Tk 8.0 billion in the domestic market and pays taxes close to Tk 3.0 billion.
Bangladesh comparative advantage in manufacturing ceramic tableware is because of its ready access to fuel (gas) and a plentiful, experienced workforce. To cope with the increased demand, all major exporters, such as Monno Ceramic, Shinepukur, and Bengal Fine Ceramic, have been expanding their plants. More plants are needed, but unfortunately the country has extreme dearth of skilled manpower in this industry. The manufacturers claim they were not receiving due government facilities, such as lower interest rate as other export sectors receive.As result, the nation has been gaining ground on traditional tableware suppliers, such as Japan, UK, Germany and Italy.
Besides growing export levels, domestic demand is a major factor, with ceramic tableware becoming a common household item in Bangladesh with a continuous rise in use among middle income groups.Local ceramic ware manufacturing industry is expecting a steady growth with a $100 million return from exports by 2015 as the global markets favour more shipments from Bangladesh.
Although Bangladeshi ceramic industry has carved a niche in the world market, its domestic market share is shrinking day by day, due to widespread import of low- priced foreign goods. Hefty duty on imported raw materials, comparatively lower duty on imported finished ceramic products...