The Italian-Bangladeshi commercial exchange in 2019 was around 2,4 billion USD. During the COVID pandemic has declined but there are good expectations of enhancement for next year. Italy imports mainly products from the textile and leather sectors from Bangladesh, items that cover more than 90% of total imports. About 70% of Italian exports to Bangladesh are made up of industrial machinery and equipment. Italian investments in Bangladesh are mainly concentrated in the textile, confectionery and footwear sectors. Enrico Nunziata, Hon’ble Ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh. Recently Team Denim Focus had a courtesy visit to the Italian Embassy and talked to Enrico Nunziata, Hon’ble Ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh. Key discussion points are mentioned below our readers-
Photo: Enrico Nunziata, Hon’ble Ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh
Denim Focus: How do you see the economic growth of Bangladesh especially in the textile and apparel industry?
Enrico Nunziata: In terms of the economy, Bangladesh is really growing fast. The critical example is Bangladesh graduating from Least Developing Country to Developing Country. In my opinion, there are absolutely good bases for such tremendous development. The economy of Bangladesh is very dynamic and the reasons are an increased diversification, including infrastructures, energy sector, connectivity, digitalization. This Country is attractive for foreign investments. Many countries have invested so far in Bangladesh and continue to do so. Diversification of production sectors, foreign investments and infrastructures will lead the country to the next level of development. Of course so far this development has been led by the Textile and RMG sector as well as remittances. Particularly from Italy Bangladeshi migrants sent more than 700 million euros in 2018, and it is increasing year by year giving a new flow of migrants going to Italy for work or family reunion. Labour force is a “treasure” for Bangladesh, an incredible resource among many others. This is very true when you look at the textile and garment labour intensive sectors. However, the growth of apparel sectors must rely also on high quality products and not only on that of massive production. Quality means first of all high skills, experience, specialization, sustainable production by using the latest green advanced technologies. I know it’s a huge investment that many Bangladeshi garment and textile factories are already doing. This is also a request that comes from customers increasingly very careful in the origin of the products they buy. They are very concerned whether the technology used is clean or not and labour rights are respected. The Bangladesh Government is working to ensure labor rights in association with ILO, EU and concerned international organisations.
Denim Focus: What is your observation of Covid 19 Pandemic and what was the effect in Italy?
Enrico Nunziata: You all know that since the beginning of the pandemic, Italy has been affected severely with a huge loss of lives. The pandemic is still on, so we are still coping with it and the rate of new cases is now very low in Italy. The vaccination campaign is continuing. More than 70% of people are vaccinated in my Country. The economy as well in Italy like elsewhere has had a negative impact from the pandemic. We are now engaged in the implementation of a huge green recovery plan. Our expert, after the first impact of the pandemic, is now growing again and even more compared to the pre-pandemic time.
Also Bangladesh has very well managed the pandemic, by balancing public health and trying at the same time to preserve the most important sectors of the economy, including the RMG industry. Of course, there were some losses in the garments sector because of order cancellation, shipment crisis. But they somehow overcome the situation.
Denim Focus: Many Italian Brands are sourcing cloth from Bangladesh Market. How can Bangladesh boost exports in the Italian Market?
Enrico Nunziata: In the first phase of the pandemic, due to the restrictions of light connections, connections among countries have been very difficult.
Pandemic abruptly hit business opportunities for the export of machineries in the textile and garment sector. However, the situation is now slightly improving. Recently, the Italian External Trade Agency in collaboration with ACIMIT, the Embassy of Italy in Dhaka and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), have organized an online webinar and B2B to revamp this sector and on how it could boost .
More in general, I can say that being Italy a member of the European Union, everything that is related to the business and commercial relation between European Union and Bangladesh is a matter of concern also for Italy. So it is important that being graduated to Developing Country, Bangladesh will continue keeping some privileges for exporting to EU Countries and not only, by respecting of course the requested benchmarks, in terms of labour rights , sustainability, safety and security. I would like to underline that all major Italian Brands and retailers are very careful to the safety, respect of labor rights and use of green technologies.
To boost more export to the Italian Market, Bangladesh must maintain the above-mentioned conditions. In particular, Italy offers advanced green technology that is being appreciated for its quality and fair costs. MADE in ITALY machines are a guarantee of the top quality . Bangladesh also should focus on high quality to uphold the MADE IN BANGLADESH tagline. By visiting many factories in Bangladesh, I see such an Ambition. Many factories here are very much careful on increasing quality to recognize Bangladesh as a next-level Economic hub for Textile, Garments and Leather goods production.
Denim Focus: What is the development project going on in Bangladesh for the Textile Industry?
Enrico Nunziata: Yes, we are planning to establish a training center in the Bangladesh University of Textiles with Machinery support of ACIMIT to train the trainers among them engineers, technicians, etc.. in order to create specialized and skilled technicians on Italian machineries. We are still in the process of negotiating an MoU with the Bangladesh Education Ministry and the Bangladesh University of Textiles.
Denim Focus: What is your opinion about Italian investment in Bangladesh?
Enrico Nunziata: If any company from Italy wants to invest in Bangladesh, we would obviously encourage them and provide all the support for favorable investment. The geographical condition of Bangladesh is really attractive. There will be a summit very soon for promoting investment in Bangladesh organized by the Ministry of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Dhaka and some Italian companies are also interested to participate.