Bangladesh is now the second largest supplier of ready-made garments to the world. Although Bangladeshi exporters have to compete with suppliers from countries like Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Indonesia and Turkey to maintain their position in the garment export market. At present they are able to export more than the competitors but the prices are comparatively much lower.
The size of the global clothing market last year was 576 billion dollars. Out of this, Bangladesh was the second highest by supplying 7.87 percent. The two largest markets for apparel supplied from here are the United States and European Union (EU) countries. The official statistics of the destination countries and regions have also revealed that Bangladeshi exporters get the lowest prices for supplied garments.
According to the data of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in 2022, Bangladesh supplied garments worth 45 billion dollars to the world market. At the global level, Bangladesh is in the next position among the competing countries in garment exports, followed by Vietnam, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Cambodia respectively.
According to the statistics of the Office of Textiles and Apparels (OTEXA) under the US Department of Commerce, the value of clothes supplied by Bangladesh to the country in 2022 was 9.74 billion dollars. Bangladeshi exporters received a price of 3 dollars 10 cents per square meter of garment. Bangladesh is now the third largest supplier to the US market. The second largest supplier country, Vietnam, supplied US $18.24 billion worth of clothing in 2022. That is why the country’s exporters got an average price of 3 dollars 71 cents per square meter.
India is in the next position. The country’s exporters supplied clothing to the United States last year worth 5.68 billion dollars. The price was found to be 3.80 dollars per square meter. The exporters of Indonesia, the fifth supplying country, provided clothing worth 5.6 billion dollars. That’s why they got an average price of 4.50 dollars per square meter. The exporters of Cambodia, which is in the sixth position, provided clothing worth 4.35 billion dollars. They found the cost of the garment to be 3.20 dollars per square meter.
The exporters feel that it is essential to diversify the products to get higher prices for the exported products. According to them, the demand for garments made of synthetic fibers is increasing worldwide. Therefore, increasing investment in clothing made of synthetic fibers is now necessary. The executive president of BKMEA, an association of knitwear exporters, Mohammad Hatem told to the meida “Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of ready-made garments in the world market, but mainly sells comparatively low-priced garments. To improve this situation, industrial owners should diversify their investment. Now the demand of synthetic fiber clothing is increasing in the global market and the price is also high. Therefore, the entrepreneurs of the ready-made garments and textile sector have to invest in the man- made fiber sector and for this the policy facilities of the government are required.”
Bangladeshi suppliers have got much lower prices than competitors in EU countries. China was the top supplier to the market in this region and Bangladesh was in the second position but recently Bangladesh took over the top position to EU over China. It is followed by Türkiye, India, Vietnam and Cambodia respectively.
Türkiye was behind Bangladesh with third position but the average price they got was 25.39 USD per kg. Indian exporters had the price per kg was 23.27 USD.
Clothes supplied by Vietnam to EU countries has got the average price of 30.76 USD per kg. Cambodian exporters received 22.18 USD per KG.
When asked why Bangladesh gets the lowest price compared to competing countries despite being the world’s second largest supplier of clothing, clothing exporters said that Bangladesh has always been exporting large quantities of low-cost clothing. Although that situation has started to change now, the price of most of the exported garments of Bangladesh is still low. As a result, Bangladesh is lagging behind in getting the price even though it is the second highest clothing supplier in the World.
BGMEA President of Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Farooq Hasan told to the media, “We are still lagging behind in terms of prices. The situation has improved somewhat. It will improve further in the coming years. Because now we have started doing value added items. We are lagging behind many other countries in terms of prices. This is mainly because we have been focusing on exports for a long time. Still the export is on quantity. Earlier I only used to export basic garments. Now we are exporting value added products like printed, embroidered, jackets, suits. It’s happening slowly. Now every year the price will increase. Year-on-year statistical analysis reflects our improvement.”