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Bangladesh is doing much better than Vietnam in apparel exports

Even amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh’s apparel exports to global markets posted 45.14% growth with strong recovery, while Vietnam recorded 20.41% in the first quarter of 2022, thanks to improved capacity and new investment.

Bangladesh-better-Vietnam-apparel-exports
Figure: Exporters and economists attributed Bangladesh’s increased capacity for the sharp growth and better performance than Vietnam in the first quarter of 2022.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, during January-March of 2022, Bangladesh’s apparel exports to global markets stood at $11.52 billion, up by 45.14 percent, which was $7.94 billion in the same period of last year.

On the other hand, during January-Match of 2022, Vietnam exports rose by 20.41 percent to $8.67 billion against $7.20 billion in the same period a year ago, General Statistics Office, Vietnam, data showed.

Exporters and economists attributed Bangladesh’s increased capacity for the sharp growth and better performance than Vietnam in the first quarter of 2022.

“With increased demands and work orders flow, the country’s apparel exporters increased their existing capacity, while a good number of new investors entered into business. These contributed lots to earn more than the previous year,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President Shahidullah Azim told Textile Today.

In 2021, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) issued membership to some 79 garment factories, while 31 in the current year. On the other hand, 72 factories have become members of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) in 2021 as well as till date. Meanwhile, increased work orders mostly relocated from China has helped a lot to earn more. Chinese manufacturers are leaving basic items, which landed in Bangladesh in large volume. As a result, we are doing better than Vietnam, Azim explained. However, Vietnam is doing better than us in capturing foreign investment as well as high valued products, said Azim.

Bangladesh-Vietnam-apparel-export-January-March- 2022

Meanwhile, higher growth in the US market also helped Bangladesh to enlarge export earnings.

According to Otexa data, Bangladesh exports to the US market rose by 62.23 percent to $2.48 billion during January-March period of 2022, which was $1.52 billion in the same period of 2021.

“A better export performance against Vietnam is good news for Bangladesh. But the country needs to widen the gap with Vietnam to sustain the growth and retain the position,” Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) told the Textile Today.

Bangladesh has vast opportunities to grow in the global exports markets. For this, products and market diversification is very crucial. The move should be on skill development and technology adoption in manufacturing, said the economist.

In addition, we should concentrate on attracting foreign direct investment mostly in value added goods so that we can cash the opportunities of China shifting, said Moazzem.

Bangladesh lost its 2nd position to Vietnam in exporting apparel goods in the global markets in 2020, when it earned $27.47 billion against the latter’s $29.8 billion. However, it regained the position in 2021. Bangladesh earned $35.81 billion in 2021, Export Promotion Bureau data show, compared to Vietnam’s $32.75 billion in the same period, according to its General Statistics Office.

According to Export Promotion Bureau data, Bangladesh’s total apparel exports to the global markets stood at $35.62 billion, up by 35.98%, during July-April period of the current fiscal year. It was $26 billion in the same period of FY21.

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