Bangladesh - Country Commercial Guide
Textiles and Apparel

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-17

Overview

The export-oriented RMG sector in Bangladesh started as a small, non-traditional export sector in the late 1970s.  Within a few years, RMG transformed itself into the country’s highest revenue generating sector, contributing more than 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports.  From spinning to weaving, 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 in the Bay of Bengal linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans for expansion into key Asian and other markets.
  • Privileged access to large markets including the EU, Japan, Canada, and India.
  • 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 (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 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 produce more capital-intensive products, including footwear and more complicated garments.  Another trend noted by manufacturers is an increase in the use of blended fabrics at the request of the industry’s customers. In response to COVID-19, a few Bangladeshi RMG firms have also started producing personal protective equipment (PPE), including for export. 

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.

Ready-Made-Garments (RMG) Market

 

FY 2016-17

FY 2017-18

FY 2018-19

FY 2019-20

FY 2020-21

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

$28,149.84

$30,614.76

$34,133.27

$27,949.19

$31,456.73

Total Imports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Imports from the U.S.

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Market Size

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Exchange Rates (BDT/USD)

80

82

84

85

85

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Units: $ millions
Source: Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau

Leading Sub-Sectors

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

Opportunities

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.

Resources

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)

Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA)

Nirapon

The Accord