China remains far ahead among of its competitors in readymade garment exports globally. Vietnam has snatched the second position from Bangladesh in a sudden move. Obviously, China and Vietnam RMG makers dominate in the US market. The two countries export RMG to the US more than two times Bangladesh does.
However, Bangladesh recently has left both China and Vietnam behind in terms of RMG export earnings.
In the first seven months this year, Bangladesh exported RMG worth $3.7 billion, equivalent to Tk 314.5 billion, to the US market. This export earning was 28.4 per cent higher than in the corresponding period of last year.
On the other hand, China exported RMG worth $9.13 billion with a periodical growth of 24.33 per cent while Vietnam embraced 16.43 per cent growth by exporting $ 8.07 billion-worth RMG to the US.
However, India still stands ahead of Bangladesh in terms of export growth in the US market. During January-July, India exported RMG worth $2.31 billion. The earning was 33.10 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period.
The export statistics were revealed by the Office of Textile and Apparel (OTEXA) last week. OTEXA–a wing of the US Department of Commerce–updates US RMG import data.
According to OTEXA, US brand buyers imported RMG worth $42.36 billion from different countries during January-July period. The import volume was 25.28 higher than the corresponding period of last year. That means, Bangladesh’s export growth was 2.4 per cent higher than the increase of RMG import by the US.
The US is always a big RMG market for Bangladesh. However, RMG export to US dwindled in 2013 after the collapse of Rana Plaza. The situation started to change in 2019 because of the trade war between China and US.
In the seven years of Rana Plaza tragedy, workplace safety has improved significantly in Bangladesh. In 2019, Bangladesh exported RMG worth $5.93 billion to US.
The dawn of 2020 was also shining. But the coronavirus situation dragged down the export spree. In the year, Bangladesh could export RMG worth $5.22 billion to the biggest market.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic during in 2021, Bangladesh’s market share in the US widened a bit because of the rise of RMG export. Last year, Bangladesh’s RMG held 8.16 per cent of the US market share. At present, Bangladesh’s share has increased to 8.32 per cent while Vietnam and China hold 18.88 per cent and 27.74 per cent of market share respectively.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice president Mohammad Hatem told Prothom Alo, “We hope Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the European markets, besides the US, would increase more in the coming months because of RMG factories in Bangladesh are assigned to serving a huge amount of work orders.”