The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in a report states, in fiscal year 2022-23, the readymade garment export contributed 84.5 per cent of Bangladesh’s total exports valued at nearly $47 billion. The report also published growth figures for Bangladesh’s major destinations. The US is its largest market where unfortunately, growth was negative at -5.5 per cent. However, garment exports to the UK and the EU fared much better, registering a positive growth of 11.8 and 9.9 per cent respectively.
Non conventional markets fare well
The growth figures in Bangladesh’s non-traditional markets fared exceptionally well, far ahead of its negative performance in the US, single digit growth in the EU and lowest double-digit growth in the UK. Brazil is where the growth percentage was off the charts with over 71 per cent, followed by Turkey at nearly 50 per cent and Japan with nearly 46 per cent. However, fiscal year 2023-24 is playing out differently as Bangladeshi sees moderate demand growth in both traditional and non-traditional markets, in the first two months (July-August).
Country-wise detailed apparel export data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), and compiled by BGMEA shows, Bangladesh exported apparel items worth $7.99 billion, a growth of 12.46 per cent from $7.11 billion in July-August of this fiscal. During this period, Bangladesh exported clothing items worth $1.46 billion to the US, which is the largest single export destination for the nation’s garment exports. This marked a year-on-year growth of 2.95 per cent compared to the $1.41 billion exported during the same period in the previous fiscal year (July-August of 2022-23).
BGMEA satisfied with export performance
As per BGMEA after a realistic interpretation of the current readymade garment import scenario across major hubs, the country has fared well as per course. The spokesperson rated Bangladesh’s exports to non-traditional market as a success despite depressed orders from traditional markets. He reiterated that in the traditional markets like the UK and the EU, export figures when compared to the economic stress those markets are going through are good enough. Seeing the current trends BGMEA did not comment on the performance they expect next year as the global market is yet to return to normal.
Within the large EU market, apparel export has seen a decline of 6.3 per cent. Germany is the second largest single-country destination with exports worth $994 million down from the months of July-August of the last fiscal wherein exports was over $1 billion. During this period with 19.1 per cent year-on-year growth, Bangladeshi exports to the UK was worth $976.8 million, UK is the third highest destination for the country's readymade garment products. Exports were up from last year’s $819.9 million.
Apparel export to other major destinations such as Spain, France, Netherlands, Italy and Poland also registered positive growth of 26.9 per cent to $729.5 million); 8.5 per cent to $402.13 million; 19 per cent to $354.4 million; 28.7 per cent to $329.9 million, and by 26.4 per cent to $293 million respectively. Since July 2023, the US imports from Bangladesh’s apparel sector has swung favorably for the South Asian nation and very recently, it was confirmed in Dhaka that the US’s Generalized System of Preference program has included Bangladeshi apparel, making it duty free as opposed to the 11 per cent it is being taxed as customs.