The scenic seven sister states of the northeast India are gaining in economic relevance lately not only for India – which sees it as the gateway to the lucrative Southeast Asian market – but also for its neighbour Bangladesh!
It is a well-known fact that retail boom in India has opened windows of opportunity for Bangladesh, especially in apparel exports, which is growing significantly in the last couple of years.
Bangladesh’s earning from RMG shipment to India in last fiscal year stood at US $ 1.25 billion, up by 42.91 per cent from what was US $ 873.27 million in the previous fiscal.
Under the given circumstances, the role of northeastern states of India has increased manifold over as experts in Bangladesh believe that improved connectivity between Bangladesh and northeast India can help the former increase its yearly exports to India to US $ 2 billion in the next 3 years.
“Lion’s share of Bangladesh’s export earnings from India comes from apparel sector. There is a huge demand for Bangladeshi apparels in the northeastern states due to cheap prices,” said President of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Matlub Ahmed, adding, “If we could capture the market, exports to India would soar to US $ 2 billion by next 3 years.”
However, to tap this huge opportunity, Matlub is for developing better connectivity with these states through land and waterways.
The President of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry made this observation at a press briefing following the recently concluded two-day ‘India-Bangladesh Stakeholders Meeting’ in Guwahati (Assam) that was attended by Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr. Moshiur Rahman, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb, besides others.
It may be mentioned here that of late fashion retail is emerging very strongly in the northeastern states, with many renowned brands and labels having started their operations there. The latest to join this bandwagon is Forever 21, India’s most loved, international fast fashion brand from Los Angeles, California, part of the Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd., which on 23 June 2019, launched its first ever store (11,000+ sq. ft.) in Guwahati to offer a hassle-free shopping experience with apparel, footwear and accessories all under one roof.
The fashion-conscious and upwardly mobile young consumers of northeast have already drawn in numerous lifestyle brands looking to exploit the market opportunities while others are busy chalking out their expansion plans.
In the existing circumstances, the significance of the seven sister states for Bangladesh apparel manufacturing sector, which caters to brands and retailers across the globe, is easy to understand.