Published in Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Apparel export to US sees 4.30% rise
Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
Bangladesh’s apparel export to the US market has seen a 4.30% rise to $1.45 billion in the first quarter of current calendar year, despite the declining trend of overall apparel import by the United States from across the world.
The overall apparel export to US from other countries has declined by 2.14% to $19.30 billion, which was $19.72 billion in the same period a year ago.
According to the January-March data of the Office of Textiles and Apparel (otexa), US Department of Commerce, Bangladesh earned $1.45 billion, exporting clothing products to the US market, which is 4.30% higher compared to $1.40 billion a year ago.
The volume, however, posted an 8.38% growth to 517.63 million square meters equivalent (SME) to the same period that indicates the unit prices of apparel products made in Bangladesh have seen a fall.
In the same period last year, the volume was 477.62 million SME.
Meanwhile, the overall RMG import by the US increased by 4.14% to $5.60 billion with an 11.93% rise compared to $5 billion in the same period a year ago.
“Bangladesh’s export earnings show growth because of some higher value and fancy products. But the concern is the buyers are decreasing prices of basic products,” BGMEA Vice-President Mohammad Nasir told the Dhaka Tribune.
If the situation continues, it would hit the business of basic product producers.
In every meeting, the buyers are talking over the compliance issues, which already have seen a remarkable progress, but they did not increase the prices of products, said Nasir. The positive things are that the buyers’ confidence has been restored, he added.
After the suspension of GSP or Generalized System of Preferences, it was feared that export to the US market, the single largest export destination of Bangladeshi products, especially apparel items, will see a sharp decline.
“The growth gap between value and volume means that per unit price of RMG products fall further. The positive sign is that Bangladesh’s growth gap with the other competitors has reduced,” Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told the Dhaka Tribune.
On the other hand, the total apparel import of the US has seen downtrend, which shows that the demands for the products among the consumers have declined. At this point, Bangladesh should focus on other countries to remain in safe zone, suggested Moazzem.
Among the major exporters to the US market, India posted a positive growth by 4.30% to $1.07billion while Vietnam 5.73% growth, the highest among the major share holders. China’s export to US has fallen by 5.94% to $6.1 billion followed by Cambodia 8.41% to $552 million, Pakistan by 9.68% to 307 million and Indonesia by 0.53% to $1.25 billion
In 2015, Bangladesh, the third largest exporter of clothing products to US, earned $5.40 billion with an 11.74% rise, which was $4.83 billion in the previous year.
The United States imported clothing products worth $85.16 billion from across the globe, of which Bangladesh’s share is 6.34% while China’s 35.86% and Vietnam’s 12.40% in terms of value.