‘Middle income country status may hit BD RMG exports’
Readymade garment exports from Bangladeshi rose by more than 60 per cent over the last six financial years between 2011-12 and 2017-18 and now it account for about 85 per cent of the country's total exports.
Bangladesh is the world's second largest clothing exporter and is the second biggest clothing supplier to the European Union and the third biggest clothing supplier to the United States of America.
The clothing industry's development has been aided by government policies aimed at encouraging foreign investment and allowing private enterprise to take the leading role. Looking ahead, the industry has set an ambitious clothing export target of $50 bn for the country's 2020/21 financial year.
But to achieve this target, it will have to continue to tackle issues of occupational safety, regulatory compliance and labour rights, according to Textiles Intelligence Ltd (TIL), a global monitor on textiles production and exports.
Looking further ahead, Bangladesh could lose its tariff-free access to European, Canadian and Australian markets if, as expected, it graduates from least developed country (LDC) status and becomes a middle income country in 2021, says TIL in its latest report titled Prospects for the Textile and Clothing Industry in Bangladesh, 2019 .
If this were to occur, imports from Bangladesh into a number of major markets could become subject to additional tariffs and this could result in a loss in export earnings.
On the positive side, labour costs in Bangladesh remain very low, problems of occupational safety are being addressed and the country's clothing industry has strong links with many leading Western retailers.
This report examines the development of the textile and clothing industry in Bangladesh, its size and structure, and production and consumption.
Also, the report features: a geographical, political and economic profile; a detailed analysis of the country's imports and exports; a thorough review of government policies, investment incentives and foreign investments; a comprehensive study of Bangladesh's infrastructure and human resources and how these affect the textile and clothing industry; and a detailed analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).