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Report No. 18

THE TEXTILE AND CLOTHING INDUSTRY OF BANGLADESH: IN A CHANGING WORLD ECONOMY

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Centre for Policy Dialogue
House No 40/C, Road No 11, Dhanmondi, GPO Box 2129, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh Tel: 8317055, 8318790; Fax: 8315701; E-mail: cpd@bdonline.com December, 1999

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), established in 1993, is an innovative initiative to promote an ongoing process of dialogue between the principal partners in the decision making and implementing process. The dialogues are designed to address important policy issues and to seek constructive solutions to these problems. The Centre has already organised a series of such major dialogues at local, regional and national levels. These dialogues have brought together ministers, opposition front benchers, MPs, business leaders, NGOs, donors, professionals and other functional groups in civil society within a non-confrontational environment to promote focused discussions. The expectation of the CPD is to create a national policy consciousness where members of civil society will be made aware of critical policy issues affecting their lives and will come together in support of particular policy agendas which they feel are conducive to the well being of the country. The CPD has also organised a number of South Asian bilateral and regional dialogues as well as some international dialogues.

In support of the dialogue process the Centre is engaged in research programmes which are both serviced by and are intended to serve as inputs for particular dialogues organised by the Centre throughout the year. Some of the major research programmes of CPD include The Independent Review of Bangladesh's Development (IRBD), Governance and Development, Population and Sustainable Development, Trade Policy Analysis and Multilateral Trading System and Leadership Programme for the Youth. The CPD also carries out periodic public perception surveys on policy issues and developmental concerns.

As part of CPD's publication activities, a CPD Dialogue Report series is brought out in order to widely disseminate the summary of the discussions organised by the Centre. The present report contains the highlights of the dialogue on the theme of The Textile and Clothing Industry of Bangladesh: In a Changing World Economy held at the Centre on August 12, 1999.

Report prepared by: Mr. Selim Raihan, Research Fellow, CPD Assistant Editor: Ms Ayesha Banu, Coordinator (Dialogue & Communication), CPD. Series Editor: Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, CPD.

CPD Dialogue Report 18

Dialogue on The Textile and Clothing Industry of Bangladesh: In a Changing World Economy i. The Dialogue An Inhouse Dialogue on the theme of Textile and Clothing Industry of Bangladesh: In a Changing World Economy was held at the Centre for Policy Dialogue on August 12, 1999. Dr. Sadequl Islam, Professor of Economics at the Laurentian University, Canada and Visiting Fellow, CPD performed the keynote presentation while the CPD Chairman, Professor Rehman Sobhan chaired the dialogue. (the list of participants is annxed) ii. Keynote Presentation Professor Islam in his presentation observed that textiles and clothing account for about 85% of total export earnings of Bangladesh. The share of clothing has increased dramatically from .2% of total exports in 1980 to about 74.8% in 1997-98. Exports of clothing from Bangladesh are characterized by (1) high concentration on low value-added products; (2) heavy dependence on imported intermediate inputs; and (3) high regional concentration of exports.

Liberalization of trade following the Uruguay Round agreement presents opportunities as well as challenges for a developing country such as Bangladesh. In the Post-Uruguay Round period, traditional instruments of trade policy such as tariffs, quotas, and subsidies will become less feasible and less relevant. In a liberalized trade regime, competition...
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