Bangladesh's total export earnings are expected to exceed US$60bn in the next five years, with the garment and accessories sector remaining major contributors.

Speaking at a trade show in Dhaka earlier this month, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said export earnings reached $34.2bn in the last fiscal year. According to the Financial Express he added that the ready-made garment (RMG) sector is Bangladesh's main forex earner, accounting for around 82% of total exports.

Ahmed said the industry has reached this stage by "overcoming difficulties," but added that it also has the potentiality to "proceed a long way."

"More than 30 products [from the] packaging and accessories sector are required for RMG and those we used to import from abroad. Now, packaging and accessories products are being exported, and the export of this sector would stand at $18bn from the existing $6.12bn," he said.

According to the Financial Express, BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman said: "We now earn $28bn by exporting garments, which was only ten thousand dollars in the early 80s. It was possible due to the help of garment-related accessories and packaging companies. The garment industry has created huge employment in the country. Now almost 4.4m people are working in this sector where 80% of them are women."

Bangladesh's garment industry, however, has been rocked over the last year by a number of terrorist attacks, the latest targeting foreigners, with some of those killed working within the apparel industry.

Garment manufacturers say they are receiving special government support as a result, and insist it is business as usual despite a US security update earlier this month warning of Islamic State (IS) terrorists targeting clothing buyers in the country's most secure zones.

Update - Bangladesh "business as usual" despite US warning