Garment exports earned record $47.38b in 2023

January 7, 2024

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Apparel exports from Bangladesh hit a milestone last year fetching an all-time high of nearly $47 billion, eclipsing the previous record set in 2022 by about 10.27 percent, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

In addition, this achievement played a part in taking the country’s overall exports in fiscal 2022-23 to another record-high of $55.56 billion.

Garments accounted for 84.58 percent of all export receipts that year while it was 81.82 percent in fiscal 2021-22, EPB data shows.

Another unprecedented performance came in the form of the highest single-month apparel export earnings of $4.67 billion in December 2022.

The 2023 apparel export earnings comprised $25.73 billion of knitwear and $21.25 billion of woven garments. These categories had year-on-year growth of 10.87 percent and 9.56 percent respectively.

If related products such as home textiles and specialised fabrics, including silk and wool, headgear and textile waste are included, the year-end export turnover would be $49.24 billion.

This accounts for 88.35 percent of the overall export earnings of fiscal 2022-23.

“This is undoubtedly a significant accomplishment as we are passing through a turbulent time when global trade is shrinking,” said Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

In fiscal 2022-23, apparel exports grew 10.27 percent year-on-year. In contrast, overall exports had gone up by 6.67 percent at the same time.

This could be attributed to an 8.62 percent decline in non-apparel and non-textile exports.

“This is certainly not a healthy sign for the economy and we have been always supporting and promoting sector diversification,” Hassan said in a letter sent to garment manufacturers yesterday.

“This contrast in growth in favour of garments is a testament to your dynamism and determination,” he added.

The sector has witnessed a qualitative shift in product portfolio, moving beyond basic garments to higher-end products like non-cotton, outerwear, activewear and suits.

This diversification showcases the evolving capabilities and commitment to meeting the changing demands of the global market.

“These factors, combined with our resilience, adaptability and innovative spirit, set us apart from our competitors,” Hassan said.

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