Bangladesh - Country Commercial Guide
Textiles and Apparel
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The export oriented RMG sector in Bangladesh started as a small non-traditional export sector in the late 1970s.  Within a few years, RMG has transformed itself into the country’s highest revenue generating sector, contributing over 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports.  From spinning to weaving, from knitwear to leisurewear, the textiles and clothing industry designs and produces for the world’s leading brands and retailers.  This growing sector of the Bangladeshi economy offers a unique competitive edge that supports profitable expansion into new strategic markets.

Sector Highlights

Low-cost and high-quality products that are produced on time, reliably and very competitively with a skilled work force.
A unique regional location for expansion into key Asian and other markets.
Privileged access to large markets including the EU, Japan, and Canada.
Clusters of companies providing a local supplier base with depth in skilled labor, training, and technical development facilities.
In FY 2020-21, Bangladesh’s RMG exports grew 12.55 percent to $31.46 billion (out of $38.76 billion in total exports) as demand in major markets in Europe and North America began to recover from the demand shock induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, global competition, factory safety issues, and infrastructure deficiencies, the long-term outlook for the RMG sector remains positive.  As competitors such as China are moving up the value chain, value apparel manufacturing is shifting to cost effective players such as Bangladesh.  However, Bangladesh has also begun efforts to move up the value chain and to produce more capital-intensive products, including footwear and more complicated garments.

Amid pressure from international retailers as well as the U.S. government and the European Union, many Bangladeshi factories have improved their safety standards and compliance norms.  This has also created an opportunity for exports of U.S. safety equipment.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Backward linkages include zippers, buttons, yarn, and other inputs.  Other sub-sectors include garment and textile labels and packaging.


Cotton, yarn, and other garment and textile inputs; Garment and textile production equipment; Chemicals; Fire and Building Safety Equipment; Fashion and design consulting and services.


  • Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
  • Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)
  • Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA)
  • Nirapon
  • The Accord