According to the seventh edition of the survey report, conducted jointly by the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) and the University of Delaware, Bangladesh became the third largest sourcing country for the US-based apparel and fashion companies in 2020, advancing from its last year's sixth position despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a latest study. Bangladesh's position improved mainly due to the 'most competitive price' it offers and exports similar products over the years, the study revealed.
Around half of the respondents revealed plans to modestly increase sourcing from a few Asian countries in the next two years including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. Bangladesh accounted for 9.4 per cent of US apparel imports in the first five months of 2020, which was a record high and up from 7.1 per cent in 2019.
The report indicated Bangladesh exported similar products to the United States from 2015 to 2019, its export to the US increased despite the COVID-19 and the US-China tariff war. The report also found Bangladesh offers the most competitive price, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, and Sri Lanka. Other than the factor of labor cost, the strong capacity in cotton yarn and fabric production locally contributed to the cost advantage of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ products, it said.
However, respondents still regard sourcing from Bangladesh involving relatively higher compliance risks in general, with the rating score for the country at 2.0, the same as last year. Some respondents explicitly expressed their concerns about the dissolution of the Alliance and the Accord, a move that is widely viewed as not helpful with building more confidence in Bangladesh's social responsibility practices.