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Bangladeshi apparel makers blame ‘vested quarters’ for drop in exports to US

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Image Courtesy: nepalisansar.com

Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers are blaming ‘vested quarters’ for tarnishing the image of the industry for the slide in exports to the US, the country’s single biggest garment export destination.

According to the latest data released by US Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa), the total export from Bangladesh to the US was US $ 5.27 billion in 2017, down by 3.98 per cent from 2016. Of this, only US $ 204 million was from non-apparel products.

In terms of market share too, Bangladesh dropped to 6.31 per cent from what was 6.58 per cent in the prior year. Vietnam, on the other hand, a close competitor to Bangladesh, registered over 7 per cent growth.

Industry insiders say that costly remediation work for compliance, infrastructural limitations and other factors which have driven up production cost is one of the major problems.

Mohammed Nasir, Vice President (Finance) of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told Apparel Resources today that a major blame should go to a ‘vested quarter’ working to tarnish the reputation of the apparel industry.

“Buyers, mostly in the US, are being confused with the negative publicity and propaganda by some vested quarters in our country. I personally have seen some cases like this. We view it as the nature of the economy. Our earnings from the US are falling but on the other hand from Europe, they are rising,” he said.

Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers and exporters have identified the image crisis as a major hindrance to the growth of the apparel industry and they are trying to wipe it off with expensive factory remediation works and offering fresh wage boards for the workers.