Bangladesh eyes exports to rise 10 pct to $33 bln in 2014-15

DHAKA, July 21 Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:38am EDT

DHAKA, July 21 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's exports in the 2014-15 financial year that started in July are expected to rise 10 percent from a year earlier to $33.20 billion, a senior official of the commerce ministry said on Monday.

The export target was set at a meeting with all stakeholders, the official, who declined not to named as he is not authorised to talk to media, told Reuters.

The south Asian country's exports in the year to June hit a record $30 billion, up 11 percent from a year ago, on the back of stronger garment sales.

However, the garment industry has been under the spotlight after a string of fatal factory accidents, including the collapse of a building housing factories in April 2013 that killed more than 1,130 people.

Garment exports for the current financial year has been fixed at $26.9 billion, up 10 percent from previous year's $24.5 billion when clothing sales surged 14 percent.

Garments are a vital sector for the country, whose low wages and duty-free access to Western markets have helped make it the world's largest apparel exporter after China.

Last year, the government raised the minimum wage for garment workers by 77 percent to 5,300 taka ($68) and amended the labour law to boost workers' rights.

But erratic decision-making over inspection of factories poses a new set of problems for the industry, which accounts for 80 percent of exports. Turmoil in the sector has put at risk the livelihood of nearly 4 million garment workers, mostly women. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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