US-bound Garment Exports Double in Five Years2 min read

Despite facing various challenges, Bangladesh’s garment exports showcased resilience in 2023, navigating through global uncertainties, trade tensions, and the ongoing pandemic. In the last five years, garment shipments from Bangladesh to the United States, its largest export destination, nearly doubled. This substantial growth was attributed to the tariff conflicts between the United States and China, coupled with the competitive pricing of locally manufactured apparel.

In a recent report from the Export Promotion Bureau and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), it was revealed that apparel exports to the USA experienced an 8.68% year-on-year decline in 2023, amounting to $8.27 billion. This dip followed two robust years in 2021 and 2022. The data further highlighted that the decline in 2023 was primarily driven by a drop in woven garment shipments, while knitwear exports witnessed a marginal increase. Bangladesh had seen a significant rise in garment exports to the USA, reaching over $9 billion in 2022.

Reportedly, readymade garment exports to the European Union (EU) faced a notable slowdown in 2023, posting a modest year-on-year growth of 1.49%. This decline was attributed to reduced exports to major EU markets, including Germany. Despite challenges in some EU countries, positive performance was noted in Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. As reported, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh’s third-largest export destination, retained a commendable year-on-year growth of 12.46% in 2023, shipping $5.34 billion in readymade garments.

Additionally, Bangladesh’s focus on non-traditional markets yielded positive results, with exports experiencing a remarkable growth of 20.54% to reach $8.87 billion in 2023. Reportedly, the share of clothing exports to non-traditional markets increased from 16.52% in 2018 to 18.72%. Also reported, Japan emerged as the leading destination among major non-traditional markets, contributing $1.68 billion in 2023 and reflecting a substantial 26.53% year-on-year growth. Other non-traditional markets, including Australia, Russia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and China, also posted positive growth.

Overall, Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports to the world increased by 3.67% year-on-year to $47.39 billion in 2023. The data, compiled by the BGMEA, underscored the post-COVID surge in demand for clothing and the impact of increased freight and raw material costs.

Faruque Hassan, President of the BGMEA, acknowledged the challenges faced throughout 2023, citing global import reductions and supply chain disruptions. Despite these hurdles, Bangladesh’s garment export sector demonstrated resilience, maintaining a positive growth trajectory and highlighting the industry’s ability to adapt amid dynamic global conditions.

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