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Dhaka Tribune

Solid plans key to ever-growing RMG export to the US

Bangladesh apparel exports to the US registered a healthy growth of 45.53% to $756 million in January this year

Update : 17 Mar 2022, 06:18 PM

Bangladeshi readymade garment (RMG) exporters are all for chalking out plans to sustain the continued positive growth of apparel exports to the United States (US), the single-largest single destination of the apparel export, without any duty preference.

According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), they are working on “Apparel Diplomacy”, as part of which they participated in a number of events and meetings in the US.

According to the Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa), an affiliate of the US Department of Commerce, Bangladesh apparel exports to the US registered a healthy growth of 45.53% to $756 million in terms of value and volume in January this year.

In the same period of the last year (2021), the export earnings were worth $519 million.

Moreover, in terms of volume, the apparel exports to the US also marked a growth of 42.17% growth to 282.38 million square metres in January 2022, which was 198.62 million square metres in the same period of 2021.

In January this year, China exported $1.90 billion worth of clothing items and Vietnam $1.27 billion. 

US apparel imports from other major sourcing destinations, such as India, Pakistan and Cambodia, grew by 53.40%, 44.41% and 42.12% respectively.

The US overall apparel imports also increased by 36.60% to $7.54 billion in January this year from across the world, while it was $5.52 billion in the same month of 2021, said the Otexa data.

Faruque Hassan, president of the BGMEA, said in a press conference on Tuesday that one of their goals was to brighten the image of the RMG industry by highlighting the positive aspects of the apparel industry to international brands and buyers.

“We have noticed some reports about the bilateral trade relations with the US regarding a sensitive issue. But the sanctions were on some persons, not any organizations. We are doing our job perfectly and are right in our place,” he added.

He also said that they are trying to ensure that trade with the US may not be overshadowed by uncertainty. They have already signed an agreement with American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).

This MoU is undoubtedly a relief in the current context. AAFA represents more than 1,000 world-renowned brands, retailers and manufacturers, he added.

He also said that under the MoU, the two sides will work together to explore trade opportunities and gain market access for Bangladeshi garments in the US market, motivate buyers in responsible purchasing practices, accelerate the sustainable development in Bangladesh's garment industry and work together to enhance US and Bangladeshi industry partnerships.

“Moreover, we also met with high level representatives from the top clothing brands of the US like Ralph Lauren, United Legwear & Apparel, YKK (USA) Inc, PVH, Underarmour, Fontheim,” he added.

He also said that they would also like to request global brands to increase their sourcing from Bangladesh and assist in increasing the capacity of suppliers to manufacture high end garments, especially non-cotton items and technical textiles.

“Some brands raised the issue of Bangladesh’s abstaining from the UN resolution on Ukraine. But we have handled it,” he added.

The garment industry is facing pressure due to the Russia-Ukraine war, but they expect to recover from it soon.

"Russia is an emerging market for us, and we expect annual exports worth $1 billion from the country. But that target will be difficult to meet," he said while speaking at a press conference in the capital.

The industry is trying to recover from this through trade with other markets, he added.

Meanwhile, US hemp fibre company Panda Biotech has said that it will work with the BGMEA to introduce US-grown sustainable hemp fibre to Bangladesh's apparel exporters from October, reported Just Style on Wednesday.

Earlier, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan met Mark D'Sa, Business Development, Panda Biotech, an emerging leader in the industrial hemp fiber industry, in Washington DC on March 10.

Industrial hemp is a regenerative crop due to its ability to grow with little water, minimal-to-no pesticides and herbicides, production of a high per acre fiber yield, and absorption of more carbon dioxide per acre than any forest or commercial crop.

BGMEA said that Bangladesh’s garment industry is committed to continuing its pursuit of excellence in the area of environmental sustainability in a bid to manufacture garments in a way that is good for people and the planet.

Meanwhile, according to the sources from the BGMEA, Bangladesh's apparel exports have continued the positive growth and registered a 52% year-on-year growth to $1.63 billion – in the first two weeks of March amid the Russia-Ukraine war

However, according to the country-wise RMG export data published by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh's apparel exports to the US have experienced a 45.91% strong comeback in the first half (July-December) of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Bangladesh exported apparel worth $4.2 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year.

Export earnings from the US were $2.9 billion in the same period of FY21, EPB data shows.

Earlier, Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that Bangladeshi clothing has always had a good position in the American market. 

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