According to the U.S. Department of Commerce affiliated Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa), Bangladesh ‘s exports of apparel to the U.S. grew by 6.73 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, reinforcing the country ‘s position as the third-largest supplier to the American market, after Vietnam and China.
In the January-March period in 2020, Bangladesh earned around $1.67 billion from exports of apparel to the US, compared with $1.56 billion in earnings over the same period in 2019. The country’s apparel export earnings, however, witnessed an 85 per cent fall in April 2020 to $375 million, which was $2.54 billion in the same timeframe last year.
Experts and exporters opined that the growth happened since Bangladesh had not been affected by the novel coronavirus till March. At that time, Chinese factories faced closures and supply chains had been disrupted due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The US also witnessed a tough phase of the outbreak, resulting in retail store closures. As a result, their imports fell by 12.07 per cent to $17.84 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
Exporters believe that Bangladesh’s apparel exports will observe the effect the outbreak of coronavirus for the next two to three months as most factories were closed for the last one month – March 26 to April 26.
Bangladesh shipped 602,98 metres, between January and March 2020. Sq. Mt. of US clothing products. But Cambodia and Pakistan ‘s apparel exports have seen growth of 14.4% and 13.8% respectively. Cotton goods, according to the BGMEA, constitute a share of 74.14 per cent of exports of Bangladeshi apparel. In the last few years, importation of the item from the US has increased against increased demand for cotton.