Bangladesh outperformed Mexico and China to become the largest denim exporter to the United States in the first half of this year though export proceeds dropped from a year-ago period owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data from Commerce Department's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) in the United States reflects, Bangladesh's denim exports to the US fell 23.03 per cent to $190.14 million in the first half of 2020 – from $247.82 million in the corresponding period in 2019.
The US’ total import of denim items also fell 37.82 per cent to $1,083 million during the first six months of this year from $1,741.82 million in the same period last year. Mexico’s exports to the US, the prime denim exporter, declined to second place due to the recent agreement among the US, Canada and Mexico. As a result, denim shipments declined by 54.9 per cent to $184.94 million in the first half of this year – compared to $410.07 million over the same time last year.
Vietnam, another Asian denim exporting country, moved down to the third position on the US market and the value of its denim exports was $143.57 million during the period. Chinese denim exports were disrupted in the first six months of the year due to the pandemic. Additionally, ongoing trade war affected significantly. As a result, the once second largest denim supplier to the US market fell to fourth place. Chinese denim exports fell by 67.38 per cent to $120.82 million, while it was $370.41 million in the same period last year.
The OTEXA report indicated, Cambodia’s denim exports registered nearly 40 per cent growth to $64.03 million in the period from $45.89 million in the same period last year. Exports from Pakistan declined 15.8 per cent to $100.68 million in this period from $119.40 million in the same period of 2019. Exports by Egypt also fell by 34.98 percent to $48.9 million, which was $75.20 million in the first half of last year.
Bangladesh has been the prime denim exporter to European Union markets for the last few years. Business situation might be better in the second half of the year with most EU buyers coming back to markets as most clothing stores have reopened ignoring a potential threat of a second wave of COVID-19.