B’desh loses more ground in US apparel market

RMG exports plummet by 3.5pc in Jan-Nov

Moinul Haque
A file photo shows workers busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. The country’s apparel exports to the US market in the 11 months of 2014 fell by 3.50 per cent to $4.48 billion against $4.65 billion in the same period of 2013 due to sluggish demand for apparel in the market and compliance issue in Bangladesh. — New Age photo

A file photo shows workers busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. The country’s apparel exports to the US market in the 11 months of 2014 fell by 3.50 per cent to $4.48 billion against $4.65 billion in the same period of 2013 due to sluggish demand for apparel in the market and compliance issue in Bangladesh. — New Age photo

The country’s apparel exports to the US market in the 11 months of 2014 fell by 3.50 per cent to $4.48 billion against $4.65 billion in the same period of 2013 due to sluggish demand for apparel in the market and compliance issue in Bangladesh.
In the period, Vietnam and India — the main competitors of Bangladesh — gained more space in the US market.
Export earnings of Vietnam from garments in the January-November period to the US market increased by 14.58 per cent to $8.59 billion.
India’s textile and garment exports rose by 6.58 per cent to $6.20 billion in the first 11 months of 2014 while the garment exports increased by 5.73 per cent to $3.16 billion.
Bangladesh’s textile and garment exports to the US market in January-August period of 2014 witnessed a negative growth of 1.13 per cent to $ 3.56 billion while export earnings from readymade garments in the period fell by 1.51 per cent to $3.43 billion, according to US Commerce Department data.
Within three months, the negative export earnings growth accelerated to 3.17 per cent from 1.13 per cent on textile and apparel items and to 3.50 per cent from1.51 per cent on only apparel products in the US market, according to the data.
‘Sluggish apparel demand due to economic slowdown, appreciation of the Bangladeshi currency taka and the recent compliance issue are three major reasons behind the negative
export growth in the US market,’ Khondoker Golam Moazzem, additional research director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, told New Age on Sunday.
He said the demand for garments decreased in the period in the US market as its economy was reviving slowly.
‘In the recent time the US currency appreciated a bit, but not against the Bangladeshi currency and so the US gave attention to those countries where dollar was stronger,’ Moazzem said.
He also said shifting orders from the shared building was another big reason for the negative export growth to the US.
The US buyers were in a position of ‘wait and see’ and they wanted to see the real progress of factory compliances in Bangladesh.
Mohammed Hatem, former vice-president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said in 2013, many American buyers shifted their orders from Bangladesh due to political turmoil and Rana Plaza building collapse and so negative growth appeared in 2014.
‘We hope that the exports to the US market will rebound in 2015 as we have improved our factory standard as per the requirements of the retailers and the buyers,’ he said.

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