The increase in U.S. clothing exports has decreased by 50%, but it has seen an uptick in exports to Europe

Bangladesh’s ready-made garment exports to the U.S. market have experienced a significant slowdown in growth. In the initial month of the 2023-24 fiscal year, July, the growth rate for garment exports to the U.S. stood at 6.31%, but it dropped to 2.95% in August. These figures were reported by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

According to EPB data, Bangladesh’s primary export destination, garment exports to the United States, rose by 6.31% in July, reaching $729 million compared to $685.7 million in July 2022-23.

However, over the July-August period of the 2023-24 fiscal year, the growth in garment exports to the U.S., which is Bangladesh’s largest export market, increased by only 2.95% compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year (2022-23), totaling $1.46 billion.

In contrast, garment exports to the European Union (EU) market increased notably by 11.81%, rising from $3.44 billion to $3.85 billion compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. Exports to Germany, the second-largest export destination, declined by 6.29% to $990 million.

Exports to major EU markets like Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland experienced substantial growth percentages of 26.94%, 8.45%, 28.73%, 18.95%, and 26.37%, respectively.

During the July-August period of 2023-24, exports to the UK and Canada reached $976.7 million and $243.4 million, respectively, showing increases of 19.14% and 7.22% in both markets.

Additionally, garment exports to non-conventional markets grew by 21.94% to $1.47 billion. Among these non-conventional markets, exports to Japan, Australia, and South Korea increased by 33.97%, 49.52%, and 19.51%, respectively. However, India’s garment exports saw a decline of 3.14%.

Mohiuddin Rubel, director of BGMEA and additional managing director of Denim Expert Limited highlighted that approximately 19% of garment product exports go to the U.S., followed by 48% to the European market, 12% to the UK, and 18% to Canada.

He expressed optimism about the growth in unconventional or new markets, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a keen focus on increasing exports. He acknowledged the cyclical nature of the U.S. and European markets, with consistent growth in Canada and the UK. Rubel also mentioned that a stronger global economy and increased demand for products are essential factors for further export growth.

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