Bangladesh’s RMG position is being challenged by Vietnam, which signed a preferential trade agreement with the European Union in 2020, and has already supplanted Bangladesh as the prime source for apparel in the US market.
Bangladesh’s RMG exports include all types of garments, hosiery and knitwear, plus shoes, and earned US$31.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22. The sector employs four million workers, close to 60% of whom are women, but their employment will be threatened by increased modernisation, automation and robotics.
The next largest component of Bangladesh’s exports are jute products, such as twine, rope, matting and sacks, with China, India and Pakistan the main clients. Other exports include fish, shrimps and prawns, which also contribute to Bangladesh’s food security. Its exports profile also features leather and leather products, home textiles, agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, plastic and plastic products.