Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the US, the single largest export destination for clothing goods, have seen a 6.65% rise to $5.40 in 2018.
According to Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa) data released on March 6, exporting clothing goods to the United States of America, Bangladesh earned $5.40 billion during January-December period of 2018, which was $5.06 billion in the previous year.
However, the overall export earnings stood at $5.60 billion, up by 6.42%, which was $5.23 billion in the same period last year. Of which only $206.25 million came from the non-apparel sector, which was $205 million in 2017.
Giving reaction on the exports growth, apparel makers and economists attributed the ongoing trade war between the US and China and safety improvement in the country’s $30 billion RMG sector.
“Apparel buyers placed more work orders from the beginning of 2018. This is because of boosted confidence of apparel brands and buyers, which was restored by the safety inspection done by Alliance, a platform of North American buyers to improve workplace safety,” former Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Abdus Salam Murshedy told the Textile Today.
Meanwhile, a trade war between the US and China expedited the growth as the buyers relocated their buying destinations to other Asian countries and Bangladesh was in the priority list, said Salam, president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB).
In tapping the fullest benefits of the trade war, Bangladesh government has to find out the new window of opportunity and comes up with necessary steps in grabbing market share.
Talking on the impact of a trade war, the business leader opined that the work orders inflow will continue to grow as the buyers have realized that the tension will linger.
Meanwhile, trade analysts opined that Bangladesh could not utilize the opportunity fully due to lack of its diversified products basket.
They suggested policy measures in grabbing the opportunity from the tension and to attract investment in the sector.
“Due to trade war effects, Bangladesh exports to the US rose. But Bangladesh failed to grab the fullest benefits of the war. While its close competitors have well performed,” Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, told the Textile Today.
In taking the advantage as an opportunity, Bangladesh has to move for products diversification and develop infrastructure to attract investment as investment and orders are moving towards other countries, which is being relocated from China, said Moazzem.
Meanwhile, apparel makers have sought government policy support in attracting Chinese investments and to occupy more market share.
“In tapping the fullest benefits of the trade war, Bangladesh government has to find out the new window of opportunity and comes up with necessary steps in grabbing market share, Mohammed Hatem, a former Vice President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters (BKMEA) told the Textile Today.
With the work orders, investment also is flying from China. And to attract investments and buyer’s attention, Bangladesh has to offer incentives for investors to invest here and develop proper infrastructure, said Hatem.
On top of that, the government should start bilateral negotiation with the US government on how we can increase our trade and should formulate policy to this end, he added.