Bangladesh: A garment powerhouse

Bangladesh: A garment powerhouse

The garment industry in Bangladesh has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming the world’s second-largest exporter after China, with $47 billion in annual exports and 40 lakh workers. Initially spurred by the Multifibre Arrangement in 1974, which imposed quotas on clothing exports, the sector flourished with buyers flocking to Bangladesh for low-cost products. Over time, major retailers like H&M and Walmart directly engaged with Bangladeshi suppliers, enhancing the country’s reputation as a reliable source of value-added garments. Despite challenges like workplace tragedies and the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh maintained its position, shipping the majority of exports directly through retailers and brands. H&M leads as the largest buyer, followed by Walmart and Inditex, with significant contributions from other major players like M&S, Uniqlo, and Primark. Japan emerged as a key destination post-2011 due to duty benefits, further diversifying Bangladesh’s export market. Despite fluctuations in sourcing patterns, Bangladesh’s garment industry remains vital, offering both quantity and quality to meet global demand, with brands like Hugo Boss also contributing to its success. As Bangladesh aims to graduate from least-developed country status, its continued success hinges on maintaining the interest of retailers and brands post-duty loss and adapting to evolving market demands.

Source: The Daily Star

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