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Bangladesh must eyes on diversified export baskets

BTJ Desk Report
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Bangladesh must eyes on diversified export baskets

Bangladesh’s non-apparel export earnings grew at an annual rate of 7.6% over three decades, while garment exports grew by 14.6%, highlighting a lack of product diversity, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study. In the late 1980s, garment earnings were nearly equal to other exports, but by 2023, garment exports surged from $1 billion to $47 billion, whereas non-garment exports grew only to $8 billion.

This reliance on garments makes Bangladesh’s export basket one of the least diversified globally, with 99% of export growth coming from similar products. In contrast, new products contributed to significant growth in countries like Malaysia (78%), Vietnam (42%), and China (32%). Bangladesh’s annual export earnings of $55 billion are small compared to countries with similar or smaller populations, such as Vietnam ($360 billion), Indonesia ($240 billion), and Thailand ($323 billion).

Top 20 products account for 80% of Bangladesh’s total exports, indicating high export concentration. Despite geographic proximity to major economies like India and China, Bangladesh exports $6 billion and $2 billion less to these countries than projected, respectively. There is also a significant export gap with other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, totaling around $7 billion and $1.6 billion respectively.

More than 80% of Bangladesh’s exports go to North America and the EU. However, since 2000, the share of the top-15 markets in total exports has slightly declined from 90% to just above 82%.

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