Bangladesh’s Textile Industry: Challenges in 2023, Optimism for Sustainable Growth in 2024

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In 2023, the global economic downturn, exacerbated by the trade war, has had widespread ramifications across various industries. The textile sector, which serves as Bangladesh’s primary remittance-earning source, faced significant challenges due to the Russia-Ukraine war and a decrease in orders. Despite recent improvements in order volumes, Bangladesh now grapples with an energy crisis.

Textile Focus interviewed Waeza Masnoon, the Executive Director of Clifton Group, to gain insights into their business in 2023 and projections for 2024.

Textile Focus: How has your business experienced 2023?

Waeza Masnoon: The economic downturn forced garment proprietors to implement cost-cutting measures for survival. Unrealistically high wage hike demands from workers added to the challenges. Internationally, garments were considered non-essential, leading to the cancellation of orders by overseas buyers. The market observed a shift towards an environmentally conscious circular fashion economy. Political unrest further disrupted transportation, escalating shipment costs and prompting buyers to withdraw from Bangladesh.

Textile Focus: What are your expectations for 2024?

Waeza Masnoon: The post-economic downturn phase is characterized by a resurgence in orders and increased buyer interest in Bangladesh. Simultaneously, there is a rise in wages for the labor force. Consumers are increasingly adopting conscious and ethical fashion practices, resulting in a higher demand for clothing. The industrial landscape is undergoing a notable transformation, with more green factories emerging and companies integrating environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on improving health services accessibility for Ready-Made Garment (RMG) workers.