According to the seventh edition of the survey data, jointly conducted by the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) and the University of Delaware, Bangladesh became the third largest sourcing country for US-based apparel and fashion companies in 2020, progressing from its sixth position in the last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a latest study. The study revealed that Bangladesh improved its position, mainly because it offers the ‘most competitive price’ and exports similar products over the years. Approximately half of the respondents revealed plans for the next two years to modestly increase sourcing from a few Asian countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. In the first five months of 2020, Bangladesh accounted for 9.4% of US apparel imports, which was a record high and up from 7.1% in 2019.
The analysis found that, from 2015 to 2019, Bangladesh exported similar products to the United States, its export to the United States increased despite the COVID-19 and tariff war between the United States and China. The study also found that Bangladesh, led by Vietnam , Indonesia, Cambodia, India , and Sri Lanka, provides the most affordable quality. Other than the factor of labor cost, the strong capacity in cotton yarn and fabric production locally contributed to the cost advantage of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ products, it said.
Nonetheless, respondents also find Bangladesh sourcing to typically entail comparatively higher enforcement risks, with the country ranking at 2.0, the same as last year. Some respondents expressed their concern about the dissolution of the Alliance and the Accord, a move that is widely viewed as unhelpful in building more trust in Bangladesh’s practices of social responsibility.