Bangladesh's garment exports to the US dropped in the 10 months period uptill October this year due to higher shipments from countries including China, India and Vietnam. Bangladesh's apparel shipment to the US fell 4.22 per cent year-on-year to $4.54 billion, as per data from the US Department of Commerce. Indonesia, South Korea and China also had seen a drop in exports to the US. China, the global leader in apparel exports, exported garments worth $32.89 billion to the US, down 0.58 per cent year-on-year, as per the data. Indonesia's export fell 2.85 per cent to $4.09 billion and South Korea's 3.71 per cent to $733 million.
India shipped garments worth $6.36 billion to the US, up 3.44 per cent year-on-year. Vietnam's exports rose 7.07 per cent to $10.36 billion, Pakistan's 1.74 per cent to $2.31 billion and Mexico's 7.64 per cent to $3.99 billion. During the 10-month period, overall export to the US from Bangladesh also dropped by 4.09 per cent year-on-year to $4.87 billion. If one considers garment export growth to the US, Bangladesh now ranks at sixth position behind China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and Mexico — where earlier the country's ranking was third/fourth in 2016.
However, imports from the US to Bangladesh have been rising in the recent months following capital machinery imports for the garment sector. Bangladesh imported goods worth $1.31 billion from January to October, which was $905.7 million in the entire 2016, as per available data. Siddiqur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association was apprehensive of the fact that, for the international market, India has brought down apparel prices to the level of Bangladesh by launching stimulus packages for the garment sector although the labour cost in India is higher compared to Bangladesh. Other factors include the fact that GAP and Walmart have recently shifted some work orders to India due to quicker lead-times, he said.