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Govt blamed for loss of US market share – garment exporters
Apr '10
With no government backing during the economic meltdown, Bangladesh's exporters, unlike their competitors who cut prices, had to raise prices of their garment exports to the United States, thereby incurring a fall of 4.5 percent last year.

Anwarul Alam Chowdhury, a leading exporter and former President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “The profitable market that we witnessed in USA is now slowly diminishing, as our garment products were highly priced, despite the economic downturn.”

Anwarul also stated that, their competitors such as, China, India, Vietnam and Cambodia, lowered their prices to continue to sustain in the US market. USA is Bangladesh's biggest buyer for its garment products that summed to $3.3 billion in 2009 alone.

While prices of Bangladesh-made garments soared by 2.32 percent in 2009, that of Cambodia's fell by 6.59 percent, China's was cut by 12.44 percent, India's declined by 4.68 percent and Vietnam's plummeted by 12.42 percent.

“Since their governments supplied them with incentives, our competitors were able to offer lower prices, unlike Bangladesh's government that was unsuccessful in taking the right decisions during the crucial times of economic meltdown”, said Anwarul.

While India brought down their currency by almost 28 percent and cut interest rates, Vietnam and Pakistan too, lessened their currencies by almost 30 percent un 2009. On the other hand, China, the biggest apparel manufacturer in the world, during the economic meltdown, increased the export tax rebates.

According to Anwarul, “The local apparel manufacturers can reduce their overseas sales prices by 3 percent, if the government decides to spend $210 million as a stimulus package.” Garments account for 80 percent of Bangladesh's total yearly exports, while the employment generated in this sector is close to 3 million and are mostly women.

Although, in this fiscal year, July 2009 – June 2010, Bangladesh's overseas sales target is $17.6 billion, 13 percent above last year, during the 2008-09 fiscal year, exports rose by 10.3 percent to $15.56 billion, the lowest growth in six years.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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