BANGLADESH: WTO warns of dependence on garment exports
Bangladesh is risking serious economic problems by concentrating too much on clothing exports, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has concluded in a report released ahead of a review of the country's trade policies.
"Exports remain highly concentrated both in terms of products and destinations, which carries some risk, with readymade-garment (RMG) exports to the EU and the US the current mainstay," it warns.
The report comes as Bangladesh's garment sector is being troubled by continual demands from workers for higher wages. Global clothing buyers have already expressed concerns over these labour woes.
The WTO report also notes Bangladesh RMG exports are "vulnerable to shocks and domestic labour unrest." The WTO suggests the south Asian nation should improve its ability to attract foreign investment by diversifying export markets and by continuing trade-related economic reforms.
However, on a positive note the report commends Bangladesh for being a "reputed low-cost" garment producer, a trend that the WTO predicts will continue over the medium term.
Bangladesh has enjoyed robust growth on the back of its inherent strengths - "especially a vibrant private sector and a large pool of inexpensive labour," it says adding: "Unit labour costs in the dominant garment industry are well below those of the nearest competitors."
And unless its labour problems worsen, the prospects for continuation of such growth are relatively good for Bangladesh. The garment industry will remain the "largest contributor to growth in output for the foreseeable future" especially since the 2011 change in EU import rules, giving Bangladesh duty-free access, noted the report.
An interactive databank with intelligence on the major apparel sourcing countries
- Will new Vietnam wage hinder competitiveness?
- Digitisation to drive new apparel-making models
- Fashion fit for the future – strategies for speed
- Under Armour Lighthouse will disrupt production
- How TAL Apparel is staying ahead of the game
- MAS Holdings shares commitment to sustainability
- Gap to shutter all UK Banana Republic stores
- M&S "unappealing" clothing a barrier to growth
- Modern Slavery Act boosts supply chain engagement
- Bangladesh tops China as lead cotton importer
- Africa-Med strategic sourcing review – comparing East Africa, North Africa and Turkey
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Apparel (GLOBAL) - Industry Report
- Global Sports and Fitness Wear Market 2016-2020