In 2013, Bangladesh exported nearly $31 billion of goods overall—nearly twice what it did just four years earlier in 2009
Definition / Scope
The readymade garments industry acts as the backbone of Bangladesh economy and as a catalyst for the development of the country. Bangladeshi take pride in the sector that has been fetching billions of dollars as export earnings and creating jobs for millions of people in the country
The apparel industry of Bangladesh started its journey in the 1980s and has come to the position it is in today. Since the early days, different sources of impetus have contributed to the development and maturity of the industry at various stages. Bangladesh learned about child-labour in 1994, and successfully made the industry free from child labour in 1995. The MFA-quota was a blessing to the industry to take root, gradually develop and mature. While the quota was approaching to an end in 2004, it was predicted by many that the phase-out would incur a massive upset in the export.
However, the post-MFA era is another story of success. Proving all the predictions wrong, Bangladesh conquered the post-MFA challenges. Now the apparel industry is Bangladesh’s biggest export earner with value of over $24.49bn of exports in the last financial year (from July 2013 to June 2014).
Bangladesh mainly produces five products – T-shirts, sweaters, trousers, men’s and women’s shirts. Moreover, country mainly dependent on two markets namely the EU and North America (the US and Canada). Though it reduced its dependency on these two markets from 93% to 85% in last five years (From fiscal 2009-10 to 2013-14), Bangladesh need to diversify the destinations of its apparel export and concentrate on high-end products like suits, lingerie, etc more for the sustained growth of its apparel industry. In 2013, Bangladesh exported nearly $31 billion of goods overall—nearly twice what it did just four years earlier in 2009—according to data from the International Trade Centre. About 90% of that value, some $28 billion, came from clothes. It is the world’s second-largest garment exporter, and its share of the global closet just keeps growing.
Bangladesh rose to its position largely because of its lack of regulation and the low wages it pays its garment workers, most of whom are women. Bangladesh’s minimum wage for the sector is one of the world’s lowest—or according to some groups, the very lowest—even after the government raised it in response to fallout from the Rana Plaza disaster