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November 2, 2022

Concerns Bangladesh garment sector could miss export target

Bangladesh’s readymade garment and apparel sector could experience negative growth of 20% in October as exports continue to wane in demand due to global macroeconomic challenges.

By Hannah Abdulla

According to a report in local publication The Business Standard, the president of the Bangladesh Garment and Exporters Associaton (BGMEA), Faruque Hassan, said apparel exports have been declining gradually and registered a 7.52% fall in September, while knitwear dropped 9% and woven 5.66%.

This comes despite Bangladesh beating its ready-made-garment (RMG) export target for the first quarter of the current financial year, recording growth of nearly 14%.

Hassan blamed the ongoing gas and power crunch in the country, which is resulting in garment makers seeing an increase in production costs and in turn driving export orders down, warning that it could result in “serious trouble” for the industry should the situation not improve.

Growth in key markets including the US and Germany has slowed as a result of the Ukraine-Russia war, global economic instability, inflation and impact on retail markets.

Hassan said makers must focus on positioning their strengths around transparency and accountability along with increasing competitiveness.

He said presenting themselves as reliable and sustainable could see exports cross the US$100bn mark, the annual target set by the BGMEA.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest garment exporters, with the ready-made-garment sector accounting for around 84% of the country’s total exports.

In recent years, Bangladesh has increased its focus and investment on product diversification, innovation, technology upgradation and skills development in a bid to enhance its capabilities and competitiveness in the global market.

The country, which is expected to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2024, has seen a decline in poverty levels, stable inflation, moderate public debt, and a greater resilience to external shocks, including the pandemic, which saw many garment factories close during lockdowns.

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