Apparel pushes up exports to US
The overall value of Bangladesh's exports to the US increased 5.83 percent year-on-year to $3.63 billion in the first seven months this year propelled by higher apparel shipments, US Census Bureau data shows.
Export of apparel items grew 5.61 percent to $3.21 billion while Bangladesh moved to the third position from sixth with respect to garment export to the US, according to data from the US Office of Textile and Apparel (OTEXA).
Of Bangladesh's total export value, garment items account for over 90 percent.
China still holds the top position having exported $14.19 billion-worth garment items in the last seven months. However, China's garment export to the US declined 0.83 percent year-on-year.
“Our garment export to the US will grow further in the coming days as now we have completed the renovation of factories to strengthen workplace safety,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The inspection and remediation of the factories as per recommendations of the Accord and Alliance brightened the country's image a lot, for which customers of the western world are satisfied with Bangladeshi goods, he said. Both the Accord and Alliance have already completed over 90 percent remediation of the factories in the garment sector, mainly fixing electrical, fire and structural loopholes.
Rahman said some of the US retailers who had left Bangladesh a few years ago for countries like Myanmar and those in Africa were coming back with hands full of work orders.
Moreover, a lot of work orders from China have also shifted direction towards Bangladesh as the country has become an expensive destination for higher cost of production and a shortage of skilled workforce, he said.
Currently, 67 green garment factories are in operation in Bangladesh -- some of them the best in the world.
Over 300 green garment factories, now under construction, are going to be certified by US Green Building Council, Rahman said.
However, he said, Vietnam has been performing very strong in global garment business as this Southeast Asian nation has invested a lot in the sector over the last couple of years.
Vietnam holds the second position on the list of top garment exporters to the US with $6.94 billion worth of goods, up 6.41 percent year-on-year, data showed.
Indonesia is in the fourth position with $2.61 billion, down by 3.70 percent, India $2.41 billion, up 3.92 percent, and Cambodia $1.36 billion, up 15.45 percent.