Germany has overtaken the United States, for the first time, as the largest export market for Bangladesh’s readymade garment in the just concluded financial year (2017-18).
RMG export to Germany in FY18 stood at $5.58 billion against $5.35 billion in earnings from the US market, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.
A moderate growth (8.65 per cent) of RMG export to Germany in FY18 from $5.13 billion in FY17 against a meagre growth (2.84 per cent) in the US market from $5.20 billion in FY17 resulted in the German market overtaking the US market.
Experts and exporters said that due to strong economic activities in Europe, especially in Germany, and preferential treatment received by Bangladeshi exporters, Europe’s largest economy became the largest market for Bangladeshi garment products, surpassing the world’s largest economy.
Despite a sluggish export growth trend in the US over the year, the country narrowly remained as the largest export market for Bangladesh in FY18 considering all products.
The EPB data showed that the country’s export earnings from the US in FY18 stood at $5.98 billion, which is 2.33 per cent higher than the earnings in FY17 — $5.84 billion.
Export to Germany grew by 7.58 per cent to $5.89 billion from $5.47 billion.
‘It’s a positive sign for Bangladesh that the RMG export performed well in the German market and [the German market] exceeded the US market,’ Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age on Thursday.
He said that due to a favourable treatment in the European market and the strong German economy helped Bangladesh increase its export to the market.
Mansur said that RMG export achieved moderate growth in the EU market due to the preferential trade facility but the performance of non-RMG products was disappointing.
‘We have started coming out of the concentration of export markets, but we are yet to overcome the challenges of product concentration,’ he said.
Because of the generalised system of preference Bangladesh gets from the EU countries, Bangladesh’s export to almost all major EU countries continued to grow in FY18.
Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said, ‘It’s a good sign that Germany became the largest apparel export market for Bangladesh as our exports suffered in the US market due to duty discrimination.’
He also said that as the strongest economy in the EU, demand for apparel increased in Germany and at the same time Bangladesh got benefit of generalised system of preferences in the market.
Bangladesh’s sluggishness in the US market continued in FY18 despite relatively good economic condition in the US with higher consumer spending.
Export earnings from the UK, the third highest export destination for Bangladesh, in FY18 increased by 11.76 per cent to $3.98 billion from $3.57 billion in FY17.
RMG export to the UK grew by 12.63 per cent to $3.72 billion from $3.30 billion.
Export earnings from France grew by 5.94 per cent to $2 billion in FY18 from $1.89 billion in FY17.
RMG export to the market grew by 4.94 per cent to $1.85 billion in the period, the data showed.
Export earnings from Spain in FY18 grew by 21.40 per cent to $2.45 billion from $2.02 billion in FY17.
RMG export fetched $2.27 billion from Spain in the period, which is 21.24 per cent higher than the earnings in the previous fiscal year.
Export earnings from Poland grew by 20.53 per cent to $956.21 million from $800.77 million.
Earnings from Poland by exporting RMG products in FY18 stood at $864.85 million with a 20.10-per cent growth.
In Asian markets, export earnings from China slumped by 26.80 per cent to $694.96 million in FY18 from $949.41 million in the previous fiscal year.
Export earnings from Japan grew by 11.74 per cent to $1.13 billion from $1.01 billion.
RMG export to the market grew by 13.73 per cent to $846.73 million in the period.
Export earnings from India grew by 29.87 per cent to $873.27 million in FY18 from $672.40 million in FY17.
RMG export to India in the period grew by 114.68 per cent to $278.67 million, the EPB data showed.
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