Bangladesh’s global market share in clothing exports rises to 7.9%

August 1, 2023

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Bangladesh exported $45 billion worth of clothing in 2022.

Bangladesh has more than tripled its share of clothing exports in the global markets, reaching 7.9% in 2022 from just 2.5% in 2005, according to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report.

Despite facing headwinds in the global markets and grappling with rising production costs due to price hikes of raw materials and energy, Bangladesh retains its position as the world’s second-largest clothing exporting country after China.

Bangladesh exported $45 billion worth of clothing in 2022, accounting for a 7.9% share of the global market, as said in the report titled “World Trade Statistical Review 2023” released on 31 July.

Bangladesh has gained its market share from 6.4% in 2021 and 6.3% in 2020.

Exporters attributed this growth to the country’s efforts to go for value-added products and diversification of orders from China. Exports could go up further if exporters get the required support from the government, such as the uninterrupted supply of energy and favourable tax and duties.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan told The Business Standard that Bangladesh saw this jump in market share due to last year’s exports being very good despite the global economic challenges.

He further explained that there are some key factors for this growth-producing high-value products, product diversification within the sector and increased market share in some new markets such as Japan, India and Korea.

At the same time, Bangladesh also received some orders that were shifted from China and Vietnam, he added.

BKMEA Executive President Mohammad Hatem said, “The Chinese apparel global market share is declining day by day, which is creating opportunities for others, as many importers are shifting their sourcing from China due to geo-political reasons.”

Source : World Trade Organization

Bangladeshi apparel exporters are taking that advantage, which helps them to increase their global share, he said.

There are opportunities to grow more, but some issues related to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and customs are impeding growth, said Hatem.

“If the government can provide uninterrupted gas and electricity, the industry has the capability to increase its market share to a double-digit within a year,” the BKMEA executive president added.

Kutubuddin Ahmed, former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The Business Standard, “We are getting a portion of the buyers who diverged from China as we have achieved trust from the buyers for on-time delivery as well as quality and high value-added products.”

“Despite all the problems, the garment exporters have done the shipment on time. Political parties have also shown generosity in this regard. I hope this growth will continue in the long run even if global demand falls,” Kutubuddin added.

Bangladesh’s ready-made garment exports reached $23.99 billion during the first half of 2023, reflecting a 5.65% increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

China’s share in global clothing exports declined to 31.7% in the last year from 32.8% in 2021, while the country maintained its position as the world’s largest clothing exporter. Exports from China accounted for $182 billion in 2022.

In 2022, Vietnam, the third-largest apparel-exporting country, exported $35 billion worth of clothing, reflecting a market share increase to 6.1% from its 5.8% share in 2021.

Bangladesh exported apparel worth around $10 billion more than Vietnam in 2022, while in 2018, both countries exported the same amount of clothing to the tune of $32 billion.

In 2021, Bangladesh regained second position in the global clothing export market after being pushed back to third position by Vietnam in 2020.

Türkiye became the fourth largest clothing exporting country grabbing a 3.5% global share and exported apparel worth about $20 billion in 2022. It is followed by India, with a 3.1% market share and exported garment items worth $18 billion.

The WTO report also highlighted that Bangladesh, among the 50 largest merchandise traders in 2022, saw its ranking jump to 49th in 2022 from 53rd in 2019. Meanwhile, China remained the largest merchandise trader in 2022.

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