Industrialists were thinking that the continuous negative growth of apparel exports would change the global position of the Bangladesh apparel industry at the end of the year 2019. However, still, Bangladesh is ahead of Vietnam in apparel exports to the global market.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam earned $32.64 billion from January to December in 2019 whereas, according to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, Bangladesh earned $33.07 billion during the period.
But if the exports do not turn away from the downward trend, Bangladesh would lose its second position to Vietnam in the global apparel market soon.
In the calendar year 2019, the Bangladesh apparel sector sees only a 0.44 percent export growth whereas Vietnam sees 7.30 percent growth.
Vietnam is going to attain Bangladesh’s position as the world’s second-largest apparel supplier by concentrating on product diversification. Even after four decades, Bangladesh’s garment sector is still trapped in basic items. Still, almost 75 percent of the shipments consist of T-shirts, trousers, sweaters, formal shirts and jackets. There has been slow graduation towards value-added and high-end garment items for upscale customers in the Western world.
Bangladesh is still lagging behind in the production of technical and smart clothing items, due to which it could not tap into the global market for hospital clothing, school uniforms and armed forces, worth billions of dollars.
The good news is that many manufacturers are coming forward to produce value-added diversified apparel products.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has identified 51 readymade garment products for export.
BGMEA mentioned that there is a huge demand for these items in the global market, though Bangladesh produces them a little bit.
The global market size of the 31 products is about $132 billion and Bangladesh earned $7.16 billion by exporting the items in 2019. The global market size of the rest 20 items is $54 billion and Bangladesh earned only $1.2 billion by exporting the items in 2019, according to the BGMEA.
According to BGMEA, the manufacturers will focus on 31 products for five years and on the rest 20 products for 10 years to increase the export of these 51 products significantly. The 31 identified items are made of cotton and the rest are non-cotton items.
Also, the garment industry has to increase its efficiency, if it wants to be more competitive globally. The sector can obtain efficiency through efficient management practices, technology selection and product and market diversification.