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Bangladesh RMG industry bursting with self-confidence

Dec '18
Bangladesh RMG industry bursting with self-confidence
With the apparel sector contributing more than 83 per cent to the country’s total exports, the Bangladesh readymade garment (RMG) sector is bursting with self-confidence. Bangladesh’ RMG industry—the second in the world in terms of production and exports—seems on its way to achieve $50 billion export target by 2021, writes Jozef De Coster from capital Dhaka.

Nobody could have predicted that the RMG industry of Bangladesh, which started very small in the 1980s (exports didn’t exceed $3.5 million in 1981), would in less than four decades become a world player with 4.2 million workers and an export value in the last fiscal year of $30.61 billion.

And, what about the industry’s future? During the recent Fabric & Yarn Expo in Dhaka (November 15–18, 2018), many of them predicted without hesitation that by 2021, Bangladesh’s RMG exports will reach the official target of $50 billion.

According to Export Promotion Bureau figures, Bangladesh’s export earnings from knitwear stood at $15.2 bn (+10.4 per cent) in the last fiscal year, while woven products earned $15.4 bn (+7.2 per cent). As a garment exporter, Bangladesh is only preceded by China ($158 billion). It is beating Vietnam ($27 billion), India ($18 billion) and Turkey ($15 billion).

Annual export statistics, however, reveal that Bangladesh’s garment exports are too much focused on simple basic items and that the average value per item shows a downward trend. The conclusion is clear: RMG exporters who want to avoid deadly price competition should pursue “product differentiation” and “upgrading.”

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Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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