Recently I came across a report released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), which distinctly highlighted an impressive growth of 12.5 per cent in Bangladesh’s garment exports for the July- April FY 2019 period.
It wasn’t surprising. But what pleased me was to know from the industry that improved working conditions in most of the garment factories of the country was the major factor that enhanced the growth of this sector.
Also, one mustn’t forget that the political stability in the country after the successful conduct of the recent elections has also improved the image of the country on the world map, which in a big way, is helping the industry grow. There cannot be a better time than now to be in Bangladesh.
I know the increase in wages as well as the cost of production is a big challenge that the apparel industry has been facing for quite some time now and unless something is done about these issues, things would get harder and tougher for Bangladesh apparel industry in the years to come.
But I have always been optimistic when it concerns Bangladesh and, my optimism got a high when Dr. Rubana Huq assured immediately after being elected as the first female President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), that she is keen to rebuild the image of Bangladesh’s RMG sector. Dr. Huq is very clear in rationalising the wages as well as in initiating efforts to promote skill development in the industry.
I see many Bangladesh brand building initiatives being undertaken in LinkedIn, which are bound to hold the industry in good stead as far as the sector’s image is concerned, and more so at a time when global dynamics is undergoing a drastic change.
When the US President had first announced to impose 25 per cent duty on products imported from China, garments were not supposed to be a part of it. However, now Donald Trump has made it clear that the duty is applicable for garment products as well.
The day this comes into effect, which could be anytime soon, Bangladesh could just become the darling nation for many global retailers. Already, the first two months of 2019 saw the country’s apparel exports to US reach US $ 1.08 billion, which is a good jump of over 10 per cent year-on-year.
The numbers will go up fast, once 25 per cent duty is imposed by US on Chinese products. So, it all seems to be going in the right direction for the industry and the country as a whole.
The world is looking at Bangladesh again and this time everything is working in its favour… I won’t be surprised if Bangladesh manages to beat its export projection much before the year ends. 2019 could well be the defining year for the country’s apparel sector.
Finally, on the occasion of Eid, I would like to wish all our readers lots of happiness, prosperity, success and peace for the year ahead.