Adopting the latest environment-friendly technology and exploring new markets are “vital” for sustaining the growth of the country’s apparel sector. Besides, there is a need for upholding the country’s image abroad to attract foreign buyers in the largest export-earning sector. The comments were made at the inaugural ceremony of a four-day ’18th Textech Bangladesh International Expo 2017′ in the city’s International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) on Wednesday. Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu inaugurated the fair as the chief guest while Meherun N. Islam, President and Group Managing Director of the fair’s organising company CEMS-Global USA and Asia-Pacific, chaired it. Mr Amu said the country had been making a significant growth despite several setbacks. “We are still making growth in the export-earning amidst rival quarters’ conspiracy against Bangladesh’s apparel sector,” he said. The minister said different programmes were being implemented for the development of readymade garments and other industrial sectors. He underscoring the need for branding to the foreigners and said that out of 10 eco-friendly factories in the world, seven are located in Bangladesh referring to the data from the US Green Building Council. The government is working on celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence with the target of export income of $50 billion from the garment sector by 2021. “In order to attain this goal, we are working toward establishing hi-tech factories with the latest technologies and equipment,” he said. He expected the fair to be an opportunity for the country’s apparel businesses to know about the latest machinery and technology at one place. President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and industry (FBCCI) Md. Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md. Siddiqur Rahman and Second Vice President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mansoor Ahmed attended the ceremony, among others. In his speech, Shafiul Islam said the apparel sector’s growth was shrinking in recent times mainly due to negative campaign against Bangladesh by vested quarters in the name labor rights and other issues. However, the garment units need to adopt new energy-efficient technology, dyes, chemicals and other equipment to maximise the benefit. Siddiqur Rahman said the country’s the apparel sector grew by average 13 per cent in the decade earlier to the last fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. “Though the government is giving some policy support, we still need financial support to sustain the growth,” he said. He said the country’s apparel sector had improved a lot in terms of building safety, environmental issue, occupational health and labour rights after the Rana Plaza collapse and some other incidents. “Unfortunately, many foreign buyers are unaware of our remarkable progress for the absence of proper branding,” he added. Following the inaugural ceremony, the guests visited the stalls. Conference and Exhibition Management Services Ltd (CEMS) organised the event aiming to give an impetus to the country’s apparel sector. Two other simultaneous events titles ’12th Dhaka International Yarn and Fabric Show 2017′ and ’28th Dye+Chem Bangladesh Expo 2017′ are also taking place at the same venue. According to the organisers some 1,150 companies with 1,400 booths from 25 countries are participating in the event.