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Despite Crisis Bangladesh Apparel Exports On the Rise

Apparel Export Growth Continues

Apparel exports continue strong growth amid ongoing crises facing Bangladesh’s garment industry.

There was apprehension that the Tazreen Fashions fire incident last November would deal Q1 apparel exports a massive blow. That incident claimed the lives of 112 workers. Buyers at that time threatened to reduce apparel sourcing from Bangladesh.

Following the fire incident major American buyer —Walt Disney Company–announced that it will no longer consider Bangladesh an eligible sourcing country.  Factory owners have reported losing 30 percent of next summer’s orders.

However, statistics released by the Export Promotion Bureau shows that during the July-April period of this fiscal year, woven garments exports marked 13.98 percent growth and knitwear exports registered 8.93 percent growth compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Data shows that during the period woven garments worth US$ 8.92 billion and knitwear worth $8.38 billion were exported.

According to the EPB, during the period, earnings from woven garments surpassed the strategic target by 1.51 percent while knit fell short of target by 1.82 percent.

Manufacturers said exports might have registered further growth, but there were political crises like general strikes. They said a steady supply of  electricity and other infrastructural needs could have further raised the export volume.

They attributed product and market diversification and order shifts from China as reason behind the growth.

However, they said that the impact of the Tazreen Fashions fire incident and Rana Plaza collapse tragedy will be very visible in the coming months, since they are receiving fewer work orders.

They said the work orders for the exports now under discussion were received months back. Future statistics are feared to be very low.

On the eve of “Europe Day,” a delegation from the European Union (EU) has voiced deep concern over working condition at the Bangladeshi factories and the loss of hundreds of lives in the Rana Plaza building collapse.

At a conference on Wednesday, the EU team, led by head of delegation of the EU to Bangladesh William Hanna called on the authorities to act immediately to ensure workplace safety across the country to avoid recurrence of such deadly incident in the future.

They also requested assurance that factories in Bangladesh would comply with international labor standards, in line with the convention of International Labor Organization (ILO).