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Top ten apparel sourcing countries to watch in 2022

Amid the worldwide growth sluggishness among industries – the textile and apparel manufacturing has been steeply rising – creating a silver line for manufacturing countries. Brushing aside the global supply chain glitches the textile is one of the well-established industries in the competitive marketplace.

Textile Today evaluated various aspects of 2021 apparel export data available to depict the highly prospective apparel sourcing countries in 2022. Here are the top ten countries:

Figure: Amid the worldwide growth sluggishness among industries – textile and apparel manufacturing has been steeply rising.

Bangladesh: The second-largest apparel exporting country has had a tremendous 2021. As per the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in July- January of FY2021-22, Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) industry exported $23.99 billion worth of garments.

Which is a massive 30.30% increase from the same period of the previous fiscal year. Among the total RMG export, knitwear items export fetched $13.27 billion, while woven items earned $10.71 billion, registering 32.89% and 27.23% growth respectively. For the single month of January 2021, the RMG export grew by 42.71% and reached $4.08 billion which is the highest ever single month export of this sector.

In fact, for the first time in history, the Bangladesh RMG industry has crossed the milestone of $4 billion RMG export in a single month in December 2021 and export in January crossed December.

Both the knitwear and woven sectors maintained over 40% year-over-year growth. So the overall RMG export performance had shown tremendous resilience in the past few months.

Despite all the challenges caused by the pandemic, such a turnaround reflects the hard work and resilience of the country’s apparel entrepreneurs and workers and the confidence of the global brands in the country.

Vietnam: As per the data of the General Statistics Office, Vietnam apparel export earned $32.75 billion in 2021. The country’s apparel export has been hit by the widespread COVID infection. Which dragged its performance of RMG.

RMG and textile products were among its major commodities based on export turnover in 2020. As Vietnam diminished its dependence on agriculture, the manufacturing sector has become a vital pillar in its economy. One of the key critical benefits of the Vietnamese manufacturing industry lies in its cheap labor, compared to its competitors such as China and Mexico.

On the other hand, Vietnam is extremely reliant on imports of raw materials such as cotton, fiber, yarn, textiles, and garments for clothing production as local supply has not been sufficient in recent years.


Heavy dependence on imports poses momentous risks to the clothing manufacturing industry. Along with the burden to meet local demand, the government has thus been stressing the development of the domestic raw material supply chain for the textile, garment, leather, and footwear industries.

Turkey: According to the data from the Turkish Statistical Institute and the country’s Ministry of Trade, Turkey exported readymade garments (RMG) worth $13.36 billion, compared to $10.63 billion exports in the corresponding period of 2020.

While according to Mustafa Gültepe, Head of the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB) Turkey’s readymade garment (RMG) export to earn $20 in 2021, as European markets looking for more imports from Turkey as Turkey is in close vicinity to Europe.

European brands are looking at Turkey due to problems in the supply chain, increased freight and logistics costs. While Turkey has an exceedingly skilled labor force.

As Turkey has moved higher on the list of top exporters, the industry has felt additional pressure on price, value addition, and quality. Turkey has an extensive range of manufacturing competencies, including basics, which endure a big portion of its garment exports.

China: With 31.6% of global apparel imports from China in 2020 – the country still holds the top apparel sourcing destination despite having several issues with the USA and other western countries. The outbreak of COVID-19 brought negative effects to China’s apparel exports in 2020.

In 2020, China’s export value of garments and accessories was worth 137.4 billion U.S. dollars, representing an 8.6% loss compared to the previous year.

However, China’s national apparel retail market has slowly recovered and reached a positive year-on-year growth. According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) published data China’s apparel export earned a combined operating revenue of $209.48 billion from January to November 2021, recording a 7.7% YoY growth.

Mexico: In 2020, Mexico’s exports of apparel and clothing accessories amounted to $3.32 billion. While in January to October 2021 period, Mexico exported $2.30 billion worth of apparel alone in the USA.

Mexico ranks highly on its tariff advantage as it maintains strict rules of origin that limit the use of non-US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) inputs. The agreement encourages US investment in Mexico’s garment industry, which relishes tariff-free export to the US, accounting for 85% of its market.

Mexico has a big number of free trade agreements (12 with 46 countries), which means the Mexican market is one of the best open and competitive in the world.

Morocco: In 2019, Morocco exported apparel worth $3.6 billion. Apparel represents a large share of Morocco’s industrial exports, and its government has launched an acceleration plan to boost the sector by 2025. Over the next few years, Morocco is expected to profit from the capacity-building program for fast fashion, knitwear and denim.

Egypt: Egypt’s RMG exports increased by 41 percent in 2021 to $2.49 billion. The country has boosted its promotional and marketing services and it has taken a number of initiatives to grow e-marketing tools for its RMG exporters. Egypt has a medium-sized textile and garment industry with the EU and the US-listed as its major export markets.

El Salvador: In the 2019 calendar year, El Salvador RMG exports earned $1.5 billion – according to government statistics. Which is 30.6% of total Salvadoran exports. Its main strength lies in cut, make, trim efficiency.

Though El Salvador relies severely on imported materials for its cotton products, it manufactures synthetic fibers and fabrics and it has enlarged its attention on high-end apparel products such as the growing athleisure market. The country is also importing high-tech machinery for the production of both fabrics and cut-and-sewn.

Peru: The country has a strong locally grown quality cotton – with this the production of textiles and clothing in Peru has shown abundant development in recent years, which can be ascribed to the high quality of Peruvian fibers and the highest combined production process. Besides, Peru has tariffs benefit, lead time and its vertical integration to source materials.

Thailand: As of January 2021, nearly seven million pieces of clothing for boys and men were exported from Thailand. The country is an expert in manufacturing fabric, sportswear, casualwear, kidswear and womenswear.

The prowess is courtesy of its textile sector cluster – making Thailand one of the few countries that have all features from production, design and sale to home textiles. Thailand also outshines eco-friendly finishing, dyeing, and printing services which meet global standards. Though, the country has to deal with some major issues like scarcity of raw materials. And other challenges prevent the country from catching up with its textile manufacturing giant neighbors.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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