Competitive prices and improved quality of Bangladeshi products that are attracting more European and Japanese buyers and the rising costs in China have led to the growth, exporters said.
Also, the earnings in fiscal 2013-14 were 6.6% higher than the target set at $1.2 billion for the sector.
Exports of leather goods rose 48.6% to $240.1 million during the period, while those of leather was up 26.5% to $505.5 million, and footwear 31.2% to $550.1 million, according to EPB data.
The leather industry earned $980.7 million in exports in fiscal 2012-13.
Exports would have been higher had there been no political unrest in the country, said Tipu Sultan, managing director of Bengal Leather Complex Ltd and Bengal Shoe Ltd that saw combined exports of around Tk 280 crore (around $36.1 million) last fiscal year.
“Many buyers are coming to Bangladesh as we offer quality products at competitive prices,” said M Abu Taher, Chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters’ Association. An increased number of buyers are diverting orders from China, where production costs have gone up significantly, he added.