Exports of Bangladesh readymade garments (RMG) to the US fell by 1.75 per cent to $2.94 billion during the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period of last year, reveals data from the US Department of Commerce. On the other hand, apparel exports to the US by Vietnam, one of the main competitors of Bangladesh and India grew by 13.75 and 5.76 per cent respectively during the period.
Bangladeshi exporters attributed the decline to tragic industrial incidents including the Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen fire and political turmoil. Following the political turmoil last year, a large number of orders were shifted to Vietnam and India, they added. During January-July period of the current calendar year, readymade garment export of Vietnam to the US market stood at $5.17 billion up from $4.54 billion in the same period of last year, according to the US Commerce Department data.
India fetched $2.12 billion during the period compared to $2 billion during the same period of last year. China's export to the US fell by 0.29 per cent to $15.63 billion during January to July of 2014. As per exporters, Bangladeshi taka is appreciating against the US dollar while competitor countries' currencies especially of Vietnam and India are depreciating, making imports from Bangladesh costlier. And foreign buyers, according to them, are waiting for completion of reforms of the local garment sector, before they increase sourcing from the country.
In 2013, Bangladesh's apparel exports to the US market stood at $4.94 billion which was $4.46 billion in 2012.Vietnam's export to the US was $8.12 billion against $7.10 billion in 2012. India exported apparel products worth $3.21 billion which was $3.04 billion in 2012, as per the US Commerce Department data.