Bangladesh has regained its previous status as the world's second largest exporter of readymade garments (RMG) leaving Vietnam behind, claim insiders of the sector.
According to BGMEA officials, Bangladesh exported apparels worth 18.80 billion US dollars while Vietnam exported clothing worth 16.86 billion dollars in the first seven months of this year.
Bangladesh earned 1.94 billion dollars more than Vietnam did during the period.
The country's RMG sector is recovering from the losses incurred amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Purchase orders have increased to a large extent.
According to the data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh's RMG exports to the international market surged by 41.66 percent to 1 billion dollars in September this year from the overseas sale in the same month last year.
Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Faruque Hassan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said, “We’ve overcome the critical period of Covid-19 due to which the RMG sector of our country had to suffer.”
When asked about the hurdles faced during the recovery, he said there were still some problems in terms of infrastructure and supply chain.
“We’re receiving work orders in large numbers, but the freight cost has also increased. Facilities at the airport, borders and warehouses need to be increased. Support from the government and the NBR could allay these issues,” he said.
Regarding the shortage of workers, he said the industry requires skilled hands now.
“Training programmes are being held to produce skilled workers. Many workers who left the capital amid the pandemic have not returned and have permanently settled elsewhere for earning their living,” he said.
Mohammad Hatem, Vice-President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), told the Bangladesh Post, “We’ve already overtaken Vietnam in RMG earnings. International buyers are placing plenty of work orders.”
Regarding the current challenges, he said the unpredictable and unstable increase in yarn prices has been one of the impediments in the recovery process.
He said it is time for the country to occupy the international market of manmade fibre.
“Tax-free import of manmade fibre raw materials would enable us to use the yarns made in our country. Thus we wouldn’t have to suffer every time the price of yarn increases. Policy support from the government is required in this regard,” he said.
Earlier, Vietnam became the second-largest global RMG exporter overtaking Bangladesh, according to the World Trade Statistical Review 2021 released by World Trade Organization (WTO), on July 30 this year.
According to the WTO review, in 2020, Vietnam exported apparel products worth 29 billion dollars and Bangladesh exported clothes worth 28 billion dollars.
In 2019, Bangladesh’s export was 34 billion dollars and Vietnam’s 31 billion dollars.