RMG exports hit record $24.5b
Garment exports hit a record high at $24.50 billion in the immediate past fiscal year, rising 13.86 percent year-on-year, according to Export Promotion Bureau.
Competitive prices of Bangladeshi products and a higher demand among Western consumers have led to the growth despite all domestic and international odds, exporters said.
Export of knitwear products rose 15.02 percent to $12.04 billion, while that of woven garments grew 12.70 percent to $12.44 billion.
The total garment exports were worth $21.51 billion in fiscal 2012-13.
“2013 was a challenging year for us. Still, garment exports rose $3 billion in fiscal 2013-14 compared to that a year ago,” said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“We have proved our resilience again," he said, adding that garment exports would have crossed $28 billion in 2013-14 had there been no disasters like the Rana Plaza building collapse and political turmoil.
"The trend is good as international retailers are still coming to Bangladesh with a lot of work orders. China has already become an expensive destination for them."
Political stability, smooth transport of goods and efficient management of Chittagong Port are what the garment sector needs the most now, Islam said.
The total earnings from exports also saw a boost, rising 11.65 percent year-on-year to $30.17 billion in fiscal 2013-14. However, the amount narrowly missed the target at $30.50 billion for the year.
Month-wise, Bangladesh exported goods worth $2.80 billion in June, the amount being 3.50 percent higher than that in the same month a year ago, and 8.65 percent lower from the target at $3.06 billion set for the month.
Echoing with the view of Islam, EPB Vice-chairman Shubhashish Bose said Bangladesh needs to strengthen its supply side as the demand for its garment items is on the rise. Among the new export destinations, Japan is promising, Bose said. "Exports of garment and leather products to Japan are increasing significantly."
Knitwear export to Japan is increasing as the sub-sector has started enjoying a duty benefit under generalised system of preferences, he said.
Bangladeshi manufacturers also need to strengthen their capacity in home textiles as the demand for such products is rising among the Western customers.
Besides the traditional markets like the US, the EU and Canada, Bangladesh is performing well in Japan, India, China, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Turkey.
Home textiles have the potential to earn $1 billion a year as the sub-sector already brought in $792.53 million in fiscal 2013-14.
Jute and jute goods also have a promising market worldwide, Bose said. Jute and jute goods earned $824.49 million in fiscal 2013-14. “We are also exporting potatoes to Russia. Our pharmaceutical products are performing very well in the overseas markets,” Bose said.