Business leaders have blamed Bangladesh's over-dependence on cotton-based products for the ongoing crisis in the country's readymade garment (RMG) sector.
The recent downtrend in the RMG sector has also negatively impacted the accessories industry.
Speakers made the comments at the trophy distribution and concluding ceremony of the GAPEXPO 2020 (Garment Accessories and Packaging Exposition), held at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka on Saturday.
In the first six months of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh's RMG exports switnessed a negative growth of 6.21 percent.
Addressing the event, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, "For the past few years, the demand for cotton products has been declining in the international market, whereas the demand for non-cotton products is increasing.
"Most of our capacity is on cotton. Under the circumstances, we have to change our business strategy, rather than blindly invest and expand factories."
He also suggested that the accessories and packaging industries should get their own share in the international market, instead of solely relying on the domestic RMG industry.
The GAPEXPO showcases products and machineries from the accessories industry, but the ongoing crisis in the RMG sector was an important focus in seminars organised during this year's expo.
Business leaders, including the Bangladesh Garments Accessories & Packaging Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) President Abdul Kader Khan have pointed out various issues affecting their industry, which is being caused by the recent crisis in the RMG sector.
"Despite being a part of the export sector, including the RMG industry, the government is yet to give us any incentives. We are asking the FBCCI to support us in this matter," Kader Khan said.
Meanwhile, the association's Adviser Rafez Alam Chowdhury said, "We are right behind the RMG sector in terms of exports. Despite this fact, the accessories industry is still being neglected."
Seeking the support of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), he added that if the data related to export of accessories is represented separately, then no one would ignore this industry.
In the concluding ceremony of the GAPEXPO, a total of 12 companies were awarded gold, silver and bronze trophies under four categories – small, medium, large and direct export.
The awards were given based on the companies' performance in 2019. Two special trophies were given to two companies for their exceptional contribution to the export sector.
The BGAPMEA has been giving the awards since 2017. The GAPEXPO kicked off on January 15 at the International Convention City Bashundhara.