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New dimension on apparel export from banladesh.

The Bangladesh textile and garment industry has been plagued by a lot of
problems in the last one year. But this has not affected the sector which is blazing
new trails and setting new milestones in its apparel shipments in the last fiscal year,
in the midst of rising energy and raw material costs and an ever growing labor
unrest in its garment factories.
The fiscal year 2007-08 saw Bangladesh textile and garment sector earning US
$14.11 billion in export revenues, registering a growth of 15.87 percent compared
to the previous year. The largest contribution, as always, came from the readymade
garment (RMG) sector.
Garment exports from this small Asian country grew from $9.21 billion in the
corresponding period of last year to touch a nadir of US $10.71 billion in the
Bangladesh fiscal year July‘07-June’08, to post a growth of an astounding 16.18
percent.
The Bangladesh garment sector has none other than the Chinese textile and
garment industry to thank partly for the robust growth achieved in the last 12 months, and mainly due to the
down trend witnessed by the Chinese textile juggernaut in the last few months.
Chinese goods which at one time were the most price competitive in the global market, have lost their edge,
because of ever increasing costs of raw materials, appreciation of the RMB and rising energy and labour
costs.
This in turn has helped garment exporters from other Asian countries like Bangladesh,
India and Vietnam. Bangladesh is one of the few countries to have taken the maximum
advantage from this situation.
While exports of woven garments grew from $4.65 billion in the previous July‘06-
June’07 fiscal to $5.16 billion in July’07-June’08 fiscal to register a growth of 11.0
percent, shipments of knit apparels on the other hand rose by an awesome 21.48
percent to touch $5.53 billion from $4.55 billion in the corresponding periods.
There is no doubt that the key driver in growth of garment exports has been the contribution of shipments of
knit garments.
During the fiscal under consideration, exports have consistently recorded growth in each month of the year,
except for three months. Exports grew from $691.98 million in July’07 to $1143.56 million in June’08 to
register a growth of a remarkable 65.41 percent.
In comparison, shipments for the corresponding months of July’06 climbed from $904.89 million to just
$961.24 million in June’07 to clock a growth rate of a marginal 6.30 percent.
Bangladesh garment exports have no doubt been fueled by the Chinese slowdown, but other global factors
have also contributed to this above average growth rates.
The continuous appreciation of the Indian rupee in 2007, due to which exports of apparels and textiles from
India had witnessed a slow down, in turn also helped exporters from Bangladesh to deliver such incredible
results
The scorching growth rates achieved in the last fiscal has emboldened the garment sector to set ambitious
export targets for the next few years. It has set a target of $25 billion to be achieved by 2010.
The Bangladesh garment industry has achieved an appreciable level of self sufficiency, in its raw material
requirements. Due to the rapid investments made in the downstream sectors, the knitwear sub-sector
obtains 80 percent raw materials from the domestic market while woven sub-sector is able to source 40
percent of its requirements.
This has resulted in a massive savings in outgo of valuable foreign exchange which
otherwise would have to be spent in importing of raw materials.
The growth of the garment industry in the economy has no doubt filled up the space left
vacant by the once effervescent jute industry. But the continuous labor unrest and labor
shortages could prove to be a dampener in its goal of reaching a target of $25 billion by
2010.
Infact at a recent meeting organized by the labor commissioner with members of the
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Association to bring out a solution to the ever-growing labor unrest, it
was suggested that strong motivational role of the owners, creating a sense of belonging among workers,
timely intervention of management in case of agitation, would surely bring about a positive change.
In the coming months the garment sector also may not have the same global competitive advantages it has
enjoyed in the last few months. The Chinese government has recently raised the tax rebate availed by
exporters from 11 to 13 percent.
The Indian rupee has also seen a downtrend against the US dollar in the last few months and is showing
signs of stability. The exporters will have do a lot more to retain the edge that helped the sector post record
figures.
Garment Exports from Bangladesh (July-June)
Year Year
2006/07 2007/08
Growth
% 2006/07 2007/08
Growth
(US$ million)
Months Woven Garments Growt Knit Garments Growt Total Growth
h h
year year (Woven + Knit) %
% %
2006/07 2007/0 2006/07 2007/08
8

july 451.95 345.20

Aug 461.89

Sep 351.87

Oct 311.38

Nov 330.30

Dec 459.71

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Total
Source: Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association