Businessmen expect sharp rise in bicycle exports

Bangladesh is currently the fifth top bicycle exporter to Europe, though it was itself an importer a decade back.
Businessmen in the country see a huge export potential for bicycles because of their growing popularity in developed nations as an environment-friendly mode of transport.They expect a sharp rise in bike exports to the European market following its economic recovery.Bangladesh follows Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in cycle exports to Europe.According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh exported bicycles worth $84.7 million in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, beginning on July 1, against the year’s target of $121.5 million.The July-February export figure was 30.23 percent higher than of the previous corresponding period.Bicycle exports began in 2000 and picked up speed in 2008.
EPB Vice-Chairman Shubhashish Bose told “An increase in bicycle exports shows a diversification of our export basket.”Exporters expect Bangladesh-made bikes will grab the ‘entire European market’, just as readymade garments (RMG) have done, in another 10 years.According to the EPB, the country fetched $20.31 billion from the July-February exports of RMG alone, accounting for 81 percent of the total export earnings.
The bureau said around 80 percent of bicycle exports was to the European Union countries, and the rest to India, the UAE, Australia and other nations.According to a report of the US-based research organisation, Lucintel, the global market size of bicycles may reach $68 billion in 2018.Former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammed Farasuddin feels the country should grab a large portion of the market.He told “Labour cost is low here. No country can export cycles at prices we can offer. We have to exploit this potential keeping in mind the issue of quality.”