Poland has emerged as key intermediary to import garments from Bangladesh and re-export them to Russia. Data from the Export Promotion Bureau, show, Poland’s apparel imports from Bangladesh surged by 19 per cent Y-o-Y to $884 during n July-Dec 2023. On the other hand, Russia's direct apparel imports from Bangladesh dropped by 27 per cent in 2022-23.
Boosted by EU’s duty-free scheme, Poland's apparel exports to Russia crossed $1 billion in 2020-21. Exports of knitwear and jumpers surged despite the Russia-Ukraine war. .
Western sanctions restrict direct trade between Russia and some suppliers. However, Poland's proximity to Russia facilitates road transport of garments, says Mohammad Hatem, Executive President, BKMEA. The country also benefits from duty-free exports under the EBA scheme, he adds.
This trade loop allows Bangladesh to continue exporting garments to Russia despite sanctions. It also enables Poland to increase its trade volume and potential profits. However, the sustainability of this trade loop depends on Poland's willingness to act as an intermediary.