Japan has emerged as a potential export market for Bangladesh in the Asian region, as export earnings from the country have seen an 11.73 per cent rise to $1.13 bn in FY18.A non-traditional export destination for Bangladesh, Japan is the only country in Asia from whom export earnings crossed the $1 bn mark in FY17, also having crossed the threshold in FY 16, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Of the $1.13 bn earned from exports to Japan in FY18, $846.73 mn or 74.8 per cent came from the RMG sector. This amounts to a 13.73 per cent increase in RMG exports to the country as compared to FY17. Economists and experts from the business community have said that the increase in exports to Japan is a result of Japan’s China-plus-one sourcing priority, as well as improvements in safety and product quality in Bangladesh’s RMG sector.

“Japanese buyers are very conscious of product quality and compliance with regulations in the production process. As manufacturers have improved in both these areas, exports have seen a jump,” Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) President Abdus Salam Murshedyt said. “Aside from traditional markets, Japan is one of the countries in the Asian region with the highest export potential, as it has a huge amount of disposable income,” he added. Meanwhile, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said: “Japan is looking for a China-plus-one sourcing hub.

As Bangladesh is doing better in recent times, they are importing from Bangladesh. The exchange rate was stable in Japan and the price of the US dollar had less of an impact on their imports.” “In terms of compliance with regulations and quality, Japan has very high standards. If Bangladesh can maintain these high standards, export earnings from the country will continue to grow,” he added. The CPD research director further said that Bangladesh needed to diversify its export markets and ensure that export earnings from more countries crossed the $1 bn mark.