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Garment exporters appall at double digit fall
19
Mar '08
Political instability in Tarai region had dual consequences. While garment industry of Nepal suffered a double digit decline in February this year, there was also a loss in orders due to failure of timely deliveries.

According to the statistics of Garment Association of Nepal (GAN), manufacturers supplied a petty US $2.01 million worth of products to America in February 2008. Exports during the same month last year, stood at US $2.33 million.

Had it not been for the unrest in the Tarai-region, which brought trade to a standstill for about 16 days, export result would have been quiet different with more orders for local entrepreneurs.

International buyers have once again lost confidence that the country would make timely deliveries and this has also put the prospect of future trade at stake.

Besides, experts noted that export of the largest supplied commodity of Nepal amounted to only $4.66 million in the first two months of this year reflecting a fall of 5 percent compared to the same period last year.

This drop in performance can also be attributed to the duty free access to US market given to Caribbean and Sub-Saharan countries. As a consequence exports from Nepal have been on a steady decline since 2002.

Exports to the US plunged by 70 percent in 2004, 41 percent in 2005, 6 percent in 2006 and 48 percent in 2007 compared to their respective preceding years. This forced a number of factories to shutdown leaving behind only a handful. Furthermore, employment in the sector also sank from 60,000 to just over 10,000.

Moreover, the expiry of quotas in international apparel trading in 2005 gave another blow to garment producers of Nepal. This apart, political imbalance, labor unrest and falling competitiveness have also raised a question about the credibility of the country's textile industry.

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