Despite the anticipated challenges in 2024, there are indications that international market demand will rise

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In a recent report released by the World Trade Organization (WTO), it has been revealed that the global scenario for the apparel sector in 2023 did not match the successes of the previous year. The data indicates that global apparel exports, which had reached a substantial $576 billion in 2022, are likely to experience a slight decrease in 2023. This downturn is attributed to diminishing clothing imports from Europe and America.

For Bangladesh, a key player in the global apparel market, the combined impact of reduced clothing imports from Europe and America has affected its two main markets. However, the nation has found solace in the growth of exports to non-traditional markets, which witnessed a notable increase. The overall conclusion is that the expansion in non-traditional markets has played a pivotal role in sustaining Bangladesh’s export growth.

Looking ahead to 2024, the future remains uncertain due to various factors influencing the international economic and geopolitical landscape. Challenges such as supply chain disruptions and inflation are anticipated to play a crucial role. Domestically, Bangladesh faces pressures including a decline in foreign exchange reserves and the significant challenge of managing inflation. Ensuring the protection of industries becomes crucial to attracting investments and maintaining competitiveness.

Despite these anticipated challenges, positive indicators are suggesting a potential rise in international market demand in 2024. The key to sustained growth lies in upholding internal supply chains, increasing investments in new products and markets, and addressing the challenges within the domestic economy.

In a statement, Mohiuddin Rubel, Director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Additional Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd, expressed optimism about overcoming the challenges. He emphasized the importance of industry protection, attracting investments, and staying competitive in the global market. Rubel urged for a focus on internal supply chains and increased investments as strategies to navigate the uncertainties and sustain desired growth in the coming year.

The global apparel industry, including Bangladesh, remains cautiously optimistic about the future, recognizing the need for adaptability and strategic measures to navigate the challenges ahead.

Author: Mohiuddin Rubel, Director, BGMEA, Additional Managing Director, Denim Expert Ltd