Bangladesh registered robust export growth of 14% per year during 2010-2015

Bangladesh registered robust export growth of 14% per year during 2010-2015

Bangladesh has outperformed other Asia-Pacific countries in the shipment of merchandise over the last five years, a new report shows, thanks to its strong competitiveness in the garment industry. 

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016, published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), reveals Bangladesh outperformed the Asia-Pacific region with robust export growth of 14% per year during 2010-2015 compared with merchandise export growth of 7.5% by the Asia-Pacific region. 

In 2015 in particular, as the region experienced a sharp export contraction of 9.7%, Bangladesh's export growth rate continued to grow at 6.5%. Merchandise trade accounted for 87.3% of Bangladesh's total trade last year. 

The country's exports are heavily concentrated in the textiles and garments sector, which collectively accounted for 72.2% of total exports in 2015. The country's strong competitiveness in this industry is thanks to its abundance of low-wage workers and the Generalized System of Preferences given by large trade partners, particularly countries in the European Union and the US. 

According to the report, the EU accounted for more than 44.5% of the total exports by Bangladesh, followed by the US at 17.6% and Japan at 3.3%.

Bangladesh imports, meanwhile fell by 6.6% in 2015, but the rate was lower than the Asia-Pacific average import decline of 15%.

Further, the report pointed out that Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Bangladesh has grown robustly, averaging 19.6% per year during 2010-2015, with textiles one of the top three sectors attracting the largest amounts of investment. 

Last year, in particular, inflows into Bangladesh increased by 44.1% to reach a historic peak of US$2.2bn. The US and the UK were the largest foreign investors, collectively accounting for 27.2% of FDI inflows into Bangladesh. 

Bangladesh currently has five preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in force, which is lower than the Asia-Pacific average of 7.6 agreements. Because exports by Bangladesh were mainly with advanced countries from which Bangladesh received GSP, only 10.4% of total exports were with PTA partners. However, trade coverage by PTA partners was much higher for imports, with a coverage ratio of 64.5% of total imports compared with 44% in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here to access the full report.