Panjiva, a leading intelligence platform for global trade professionals, published its First Quarter 2014 Trendspotting Analysis, revealing that despite worldwide outcries regarding labor safety in Bangladesh the country continues to be a crucial source for apparel and garments.
Panjiva data found that the value of U.S. imports from Bangladesh increased one percent in Q1 2014, compared to Q1 2013. It is a small increase compared to the 16 percent jump in Q4 2013 and 13 percent rise in Q3 2013, compared to the same periods in 2012. However, customs records indicate that the increase is based on volume, as the number and weight of shipments coming to the U.S. is growing.
The report showed that in the first three months of the year, 16,843 shipments entered the U.S. from Bangladesh, and a large number of apparel brands are still receiving shipments indicating companies’ unwillingness to move production away from the country.
In particular, reports like one recently published by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), contradict the claims of many activist groups. The BIDS survey reported that 92 percent of factories have updated fire safety licenses, however, it only sampled 100 factories out of the 6,300 in Bangladesh.
Overall, the values of U.S. imports and exports dipped in the first quarter, 5.42% and 3.84% respectively compared to fourth quarter 2013. The trade deficit grew by $249,896,053, or 0.17%, year-over-year, but shrunk by $15,282,704,612, or 9.42%, compared to last quarter.