Bangladesh’s apparel exports have experienced a 10% increase in earnings, despite a notable decline in exports to the United States, historically the country’s top export destination.
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data reveals a 5.51% drop in exports to the US in the recently concluded fiscal year (FY23).
Similarly, exports to major European destinations, such as Germany and Poland, within the EU, have fallen significantly by 6.81% and 13.66%, respectively.
Several factors have contributed to this decline, including a global economic slowdown, inflation, US interest rate hikes, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and unsold inventory in the US and Europe.
However, it is worth noting that exports to other European countries like Spain, France, Italy, Denmark, and the Netherlands have seen substantial increases.
Exports to non-traditional destinations like Australia, India, and Japan have grown.
These countries are part of the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the Quad. In FY23, exports to Australia rose by 42.48%, while exports to India and Japan surged by 41.58% and 45.62%, respectively, compared to the previous year.
The Bangladesh government has encouraged stakeholders in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry to explore new markets and increase export revenue.
They have set a target of $62 billion for overall export income in FY24, representing a 12% increase from the previous fiscal year.
The RMG industry, being the country’s leading export sector, is expected to contribute significantly to achieving these targets.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi praised the industry’s contribution to Bangladesh’s economy and urged stakeholders to capitalize on the gaps left by other RMG-producing countries like China and Vietnam.
Industry representatives have highlighted the need for a consistent energy supply to meet production and growth targets.