Some Chinese garment makers want to set up factories under joint venture in Bangladesh as they see the country as a competitive destination to relocate plants amid raging US-China trade war and the rising cost in the world’s second largest economy. Chinese textile and garment industry owners have invested heavily in neighbouring Vietnam and Cambodia in the last two decades, but now they are focusing to shift their factories to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The reasons for the change in focus include a lack of skilled workforce in Chinese textile and garment industry, rising cost of production, shifting industrial base to industries such as IT and over-investment in Vietnam and Cambodia where labour costs are lower. “Now they are trying to shift the sunset industries to Myanmar and Bangladesh,” said Faisal Samad, Vice- President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

The sunset industry refers to an industry that has existed for a long time and that is less successful and making less profit than previously. Samad met with some entrepreneurs of Hong Kong-based Chinese Manufacturers’ Association during their visit to Dhaka from May 22 to May 26.

The entrepreneurs came to Bangladesh to explore investment opportunities. “Bangladesh is still a competitive place compared to China, Vietnam and Cambodia for setting up industries because of lower cost of production, trade privileges granted in major markets such as the EU and China,” he said.“They are interested to set up factories in fabrics, garment, printing and dyeing,” Samad said.

So far, Bangladesh hasn’t allowed foreign investment in basic apparels, limiting their presence in high-end and value-added textile and garment items.