Commissioned by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and completed by PwC, the study forecasts that global garment exports will soar to $1,121bn by 2030, a substantial increase from the $953bn recorded in 2022 as reported by multiple local news sites.

PwC unveiled the report, titled: “From Shirts to Shores: Blueprint for Bangladesh RMG Industry,” at a press conference hosted at the BGMEA office.

The report said Bangladesh needs to develop the ecosystem required for increased competitiveness in manufacturing certain products. It highlighted the importance of positioning the region as a supplier of value-added MMF-based products for the EU, US and UK and while continuing to penetrate new markets including Japan and South Korea.

BGMEA president Faruque Hassan said: “The outlined strategies of the report will serve as guidelines for us to navigate challenges and capitalise opportunities, which will help us to compete in the global market. We urge all stakeholders to collaborate in implementing the recommendations outlined in the report.”

According to local news site The Daily Star, the report found:

  • In 2013, MMF and MMF-rich items accounted for 46% of the total export value of garment items which stood at $794bn, while 40% was cotton and cotton-rich and others contributed 14%.
  • In 2022, the global value of globally traded garment products was $953bn, with 50% MMF and MMF-rich, 37% cotton and cotton-rich and 13% others.
  • Of the total exported value of MMF and MMF-rich garment items in 2022, $320bn was captured by China, $41bn was exported by Vietnam and Italy $39bn.
  • 73% of MMF-based products came from a total global trade of $100bn in garment items including brassieres, technical garments, activewear, swimwear jackets, suits and blazers,
  • The global market value of MMF and MMF-rich activewear and swimwear is $30.5bn, of which Bangladesh’s share is 4.3%.
  • In the case of jackets/suits/blazers, the global market value is $32.2bn and Bangladesh’s share in this segment is 2.5%.

The PwC study suggested Bangladesh needs to create an investor-friendly framework to access external commercial debt and foreign direct investment through a streamlined approval process.

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To attract more external borrowings, PwC suggests providing clear guidelines on loan duration, interest rates, collateral requirements, acceptable use of funds, eligible lenders and an automatic approval process for specific projects.

The report aimed to help Bangladesh navigate challenges and seize opportunities to achieve its target of $100bn in garment exports by 2030.

The Daily Star also reported that Hassan said to reach the $100bn export target, services offered by the customs, ports and bond will need to be improved significantly.

The outgoing BGMEA president also added that garment exports to new destinations over the last 14 years increased to $8.37bn from $849m. Bangladesh’s list of promising new destinations includes: India, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Türkiye.  

To propel the growth of Bangladesh’s textile and apparel sector, another local news site The Business Post reported that the study recommends strategies including product diversification, automation, digitalisation, resource-efficient technologies, circularity and improved access to finance, all geared towards fostering sustainability.

Hassan stressed the importance of research-driven strategies in maintaining competitiveness amidst evolving global dynamics. He added: “The report offers vital insights and actionable recommendations aimed to build a more prosperous future for Bangladesh’s apparel sector.”

The study is supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and with its support BGMEA has launched two more reports “Establishing a Virtual Marketplace Platform for the RMG Sector” and “Beyond Cotton: A Strategic Blueprint for Fibre Diversification in Bangladesh Apparel Industry.”

BGMEA had not responded to Just Style’s request for a comment at the time of going to press.

In March, the American Apparel & Footwear Association urged the BGMEA to call for an end to the ongoing detainment and threat of detainment for garment workers involved in Bangladesh’s minimum wage protests.