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Bangladesh’s apparel export to US hits record of $9 billion in FY22

Bangladesh’s apparel shipment to the United States of America (USA) recorded a robust growth of 51.57% to $9 billion, the highest ever, in the just-concluded fiscal year, thanks to buyers’ confidence in exporters.

Bangladesh export to US
Figure: Economists and industry people credited the increasing demand for consumer goods, mostly clothing items, and increased prices of goods for the robust export growth.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in FY22 Bangladesh earned over $9 billion exporting clothing items, which was 51.57% higher compared to $5.95 billion in FY21.

Women’s products fetched $5.89 billion, up by 51.58%, which was $ 3.88 billion in the same period a year ago.

Knitwear products earned $3.12 billion posting a 51.56 % growth compared to $2.06 billion last year.

Bangladesh exported home textile goods worth $311 million, followed by caps worth $281 million.

Meanwhile, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed that Bangladesh earned $10.41 billion in FY22, which was $6.97 billion posted in FY21.

Bangladesh earned $52 billion through exports while posting a 34.38 percent growth in FY22, compared to the $38.75 billion in FY21.

Economists and industry people credited the increasing demand for consumer goods, mostly clothing items, and increased prices of goods for the robust export growth. According to Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) research, prices of per unit apparel goods exported to the US market grew by 6.5%.

“Bangladesh’s exports to the US market stood at $10.41 billion, where the apparel sector contributed $9 billion. This is because of timely delivery of goods amid the pandemic, which boosted investors’ confidence and they placed more work orders,” said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan.

On top of that, through several visits and meeting with US buyers last year as part of our apparel diplomacy to improve the buyer-manufacturer relation, which helped a lot to get their attention, said the business leader.

In addition to these, prices and the number of goods exported to the US have gone up. As a result, export earnings rose sharply, he added.

The export earnings will continue to go up in the coming months as the factories currently have adequate work orders, and the buyers are placing more for the upcoming seasons, he added.

Meanwhile, economists opined that political unrest in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar helped to get better work orders as they prefer Bangladesh to source goods.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic situation improved in US I, the demands for clothing products rose significantly. On the other hand, the US buyers’ confidence in our competitors such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar eroded due to political unrest,” Dr. Zahid Hussain former lead economist of World Bank, Bangladesh told Textile Today.

How to sustain the growth

The sharp growth in export is a good sign for Bangladesh as the country has a big market, which needs to penetrate to reach Bangladesh’s export target.

“As the single largest export destination, the US market means a lot and it is a good sign that its apparel exports stood at $9 billion,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

For making the growth a sustainable one, Bangladesh has to focus on increasing retention of earnings and local value addition, said Rahman.

Demand for non-cotton goods in the US market is increasing sharply and exporters should concentrate on grabbing this item while moving towards more value-added goods, said the economist.

He also suggested enhancing productivity and product diversification.

Meanwhile, the exporters also called for the continuation of existing policy support to retain the export earnings. They also urged the government to keep the tax at source at 0.50% in the current fiscal to help it grow further.

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