The country’s readymade garment exports to non-traditional markets in the July-January period of current financial year 2020-21 plunged by 9.44 per cent compared with that in the same period of the previous fiscal year due to an economic slowdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Export Promotion Bureau data, apparel exports to the non-traditional markets in the seven months of FY21 decreased to $2.94 billion from $3.25 billion in the same period of FY20.
RMG exporters consider the non-traditional destinations including China, Russia, Japan, India and Australia as prospective markets to reduce dependency on two traditional markets — the European Union and the United States.
Exporters said that demand for apparel products declined all over the world due to the pandemic and it might take a few more months to improve the situation.
The country’s apparel exports in July-January of FY21 also declined by 2.11 per cent in the EU and 2.39 per cent in the US, the EPB data showed.
RMG exports to the EU in the seven months of FY21 decreased to $11.48 billion from $11.72 billion in the same period of FY20.
Apparel exports to the US, the single largest destination for Bangladesh, in the seven months of FY21 decreased to $3.40 billion from $3.48 billion in the same period of FY20.
More than 16 per cent of the country’s total RMG exports go to non-traditional markets while the share of the EU is 62.37 per cent, the US 18.50 per cent and Canada 3.11 per cent.
Among the non-traditional markets, apparel exports to Australia grew by 9.50 per cent to $432.19 million in July-January period of FY21 from $ 394.70 million in the same period of FY20.
RMG exports to Russia in the seven months of FY21 also increased by 13.55 per cent to $303.37 million from $267.16 million in the same period of the past fiscal year.
RMG exports to China in the seven months of FY21 decreased by 32.72 per cent to $163.30 million while the earnings from India declined by 22.34 per cent to $263.06 million.
Apparel exports to Japan in July-January period of FY21 fell by 13.29 per cent to $546.50 million from $630.23 million in the same period of FY20.
Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that export trend continued to show a depressing trend reflecting the worrying scenario in global trade, particularly with regard to the RMG.
‘Though the vaccines came with greater hope, the administration of it is not seeing the expected pace. All these are pointing to a lingering scenario of recovery from the pandemic as well as reinstatement of normalcy in economy and trade,’ she said.
Rubana said that situation might start improving with the end of this winter towards the middle of 2021.
However, it might take more time for the economies to rebound and people to get back to jobs, she added.
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