Germany has once again emerged as Bangladesh’s largest export market overtaking the United States in July-February of the current fiscal year 2017-18 due to slow growth in readymade garments export to US market.
Earlier, Germany had overtaken the US for the first time as Bangladesh’s largest export market for the July-November period of 2016-17 fiscal and then the US regained its position as the country’s largest export destination, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.
Export earnings from Germany in the July-February period of FY18 stood at $3.92 billion which is $23.22 million higher than earnings from the US — $3.90 billion — in the period.
Experts and exporters said that slowdown in export of RMG to US market pushed Germany to the top export destination. They termed the trend encouraging as slow growth in US market was covered by growth in another market.
Despite poor earnings growth from the beginning of the current fiscal, the US remained Bangladesh’s largest export destination until January this year and Germany went to the top of the list in February.
At the end of 2016-17 fiscal, export earnings from the US stood at $5.84 billion while the earnings from Germany were $5.47 billion in the period, the EPB data showed.
Earnings from Germany in exporting RMG in the first eight months of the FY18 were $3.70 billion which was $216.73 million higher than the earnings from the US — $3.48 billion — in the period, data showed.
‘The slowdown in RMG export to the US was the main reason for Germany to overtake the US as Bangladesh’s largest export market. Another factor was duty-free market access of Bangladeshi products to European markets, including Germany,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman told New Age on Saturday.
He said that Bangladesh was losing its competitive edge in US market as competitor countries, like Vietnam, were getting duty-free access to the market.
‘It is good for Bangladesh that the slowdown in US market is covered by growth in export earnings from Germany and other countries. But we should take moves for our strong presence in US market as the destination is important for Bangladesh,’ Mustafiz said.
According to data, export earnings from US in the July-February period of FY18 grew by 1.55 per cent to $3.90 billion from $3.78 billion in the same period of FY17.
The apparel export to US market in the period increased by 1.64 per cent to $3.48 billion from $3.42 billion in the same period of FY17.
Export of RMG products to Germany in the first eight months of FY18 grew by 4.11 per cent to $3.70 billion from $3.55 billion in the same period of FY17.
Export earnings from most of the EU countries maintained a moderate growth in the July-February period of FY18.
‘Our competitor countries are gaining more market share in the US as Bangladesh is losing its competitive edge due to lack of strong backward linkage industry for woven products and failure in maintaining lead time,’ Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh, told New Age.
He said that it was true the export earnings growth in US market in the current fiscal was not at the desired level but by the end of the year export target would be met as Bangladesh’s RMG sector had rebuilt its image successfully in the last three years.
Salam said that exporters should take moves to regain US market and the government should provide policy support considering the changed global scenario.
Export earnings from the UK, the third highest export destination for Bangladesh, in the July-February period of FY18 increased by 17.66 per cent to $2.70 billion from $2.29 billion in the same period of FY 17.
Export earnings from France in the period grew by 5.26 per cent to $1.30 billion from $1.23 billion in the same period of last fiscal.
According to the EPB data, export earnings from Canada in the eight months of FY18 grew by 8.64 per cent to $737.27 million from $678.61 million in the same period of FY17.
Export to Spain in the July-February period of FY18 grew by 24.39 per cent to $1.63 billion.
Export earnings from Poland in the period grew by 25.01 per cent to $641.47 million from $513.16 million in the same period of last fiscal.
Export earnings from Japan increased by 4.08 per cent to $731.93 million in the period.
Exports to China fell by 27.20 per cent to $459.11 million from $630.66 million in the same period of FY17.
Export earnings from India grew by 13.60 per cent to $531.97 million from $468.25 million in the same period of FY17.
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