Bangladesh’s apparel exporters fear losing market following a dip in sales in Western countries including the United States over the past three months.
They expressed the fear at a views-exchange meeting with journalists in Dhaka on Monday.
Former Bangladesh Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) chief Anisur Rahman Sinha said the US buyers were looking to source apparels from alternative markets.
The industry lobby’s current President Atiqul Islam said Indonesia had recently left Bangladesh behind in export of RMG products to the American market.
Sinha, Chairman of Opex Group, said: “Bangladesh’s apparel exports are falling. Our business is being taken by other countries.”
He said the US which was Bangladesh’s single largest market was trying to develop African countries as alternative to Bangladesh.
He claimed that the US was offering African countries including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda all sorts of assistance as part of those efforts.
“Europe is also joining America. If we don’t resolve our problems regarding gas, power and roads promptly, the fate of our RMG sector will be same as jute,” he added.
After independence, Bangladesh’s main export items were jute and jute-goods but now their exports have dropped to the lowest level ever.
Readymade cloths have emerged as the main export goods over the past three decades and the industry fetches $22 billion from overseas sales a year.
But the Western buyers grew increasingly concerned over the working conditions in Bangladeshi factories after two big accidents – the fire at Tazreen Fashions and collapse of Rana Plaza — which claimed lives of over 1,200 people.
Atiqul Islam said at the meeting: “We have lost a share of the US market. Indonesia has surpassed Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s position in the US market as an apparel exporter is now fourth. It had third spot in February. It’s a big concern for us,” he added.
Presenting export data of the last four months, the BGMEA chief said Bangladesh clocked a 10 percent growth in apparel export in June this year against 15.12 percent over the same period last year.
Source: Bd news24