Bangladesh’s leather sector is going through a tough time, due to intense competition with its rivals and the country’s ongoing tannery relocation.

The country has been experiencing an export slump in leather and leather products since the last fiscal year, according to industry insiders.

In the fist seven months (July-January) of the current fiscal year, the export of leather and leather products declined by 11.71% year-on-year to $626.42 million, while overseas sales of leather and leather products and leather footwear declined by 26.87% during the last fiscal year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Saiful Islam, president of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh, however, expressed his hope to overcome the plummeting export growth. "Our exports are expected to enter a positive territory very soon with renewed buyers' confidence on the back of full completion of the tannery relocation process and full operation of the CETP," he said.

"The local leather industry will continue to defy all odds and battle competition from other regional players. It may not lag behind its competitors if the government ensures better infrastructures and improves ease of doing business,” he added.

Bangladesh earned $1.08 billion from the export of leather and leather goods in the last fiscal year (2017-18) and it aimed at $1.12 billion exports from the sector in this fiscal year (2018-19), according the EPB's latest data released on last week.