Bangladesh: RMG Exports Take a Drop

Written by: Dipesh Satapathy

A drop in readymade garment exports, setting up of an RMG Sustainability Council, demands for tax cuts and incentives, a six-month ban on Nirapon, formed to replace the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and a decision to bring most garment workers under the digital wage system were the key developments in Bangladesh in 2019.

Despite standing to gain heavily from the China-US trade war, Bangladesh in fact lost its global market share in apparel exports by 0.1 percentage point—dropping to 6.4 per cent in 2018. In fiscal 2018–19, the Bangladesh apparel sector export earnings posted an 11.49 per cent growth to hit $34.13 billion from $30.61 billion in the previous fiscal. Out of the global apparel export market of $421 billion, Bangladesh accounted for $32 billion in 2018 compared to $29 billion in 2017, according to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) World Trade Statistical Review 2019.

RMG exports during the first four months of fiscal 2019–20 fell by 6.67 per cent to $10.5 billion. Knitwear exports during that period too fell by 5.73 per cent to $5.5 billion, while woven garments exports dropped by 7.67 per cent to $5 billion.

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