Besides contributing to foreign exchange earnings, generating employment, and creating the opportunities to utilize indigenous resources, handicraft plays a vital role in sustaining the rural economy and cultural heritage of the country. Handicrafts created by the works of painters and sculptors, as well as craft workers who have little or no training as artists and create their work for other people rather than museums or wealthy collectors, embody the cultural heritage of the country. Most handicrafts cater to the needs of the common people, although they originate through the patronage of the rich. Over time, they acquire the dignity of a craft. The members of the craftsmen family or cooperatives are employed in the handicraft production unit at the cottage level. The workers (skilled or semiskilled) are paid their wages on a daily basis. The handicraft sector is an important employment provider, especially in the rural areas. In the 1990s, according to a study covering seven countries in Asia, 4 million people worked full-time on craft production, while another 4 million worked part-time.
In export trade of the country, handicrafts are considered non-traditional items with a huge potential for expansion. Being a developing country, Bangladesh faces tough competition in export of finished goods in the manufacturing sector, but' many developed countries, however, give preferential treatment to the import of handicraft from Bangladesh.