On the back of higher shipments of garment, exports from Bangladesh saw a growth of 7.11 per cent in 2016 to $34.93 billion. The amount would have been more if the country's major export destinations had not gone through an uncertain political time last year, according to exporters. Bangladesh typically ships more than $3 billion worth of garment products to the UK in a year.
Garment shipments, typically account for 80 per cent of the export earnings roped in $28.61 billion last year, up 7.89 per cent year-on-year, according to a data of the Export Promotion Bureau. Commenting on this Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, vice president Faruque Hassan said the country’s exports grew even amid the volatile condition around the world. That is why the garment sector is hopeful that it will perform even better this year.
In 2016, the unit price of garment items decreased by 2 per cent year-on-year and the depreciation of the pound as a result of the UK's shock decision to withdraw from the European Union on June 23, 2016 affected the receipts. The UK is the third largest export destination for Bangladesh after the US and Germany.
With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the election of Donald J Trump as the 45th president of the US and the scheduled polls in Germany and France, the outlook does not look too promising. Hassan said that it was not a major cause of concern as exports to new destinations have been on the rise as a result of relaxation of the Rules of Origin.
The apparel industry must address issues of gas and power shortage, market diversification, access to new markets and political stability for achieving the targeted export growth in 2017, the BGMEA vice-president averred. However, the last year ended on a somewhat dismal note, as exports slid 3.11 per cent in the month of December from a year earlier.