Bangladesh's Clothing Exports to the US Decline by 19% in January-February

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog11-04-2024

Despite positive trends in the markets of its main competitors, China and Vietnam, Bangladesh's clothing exports to the United States dropped by over 19% in the first two months of this year compared to last year.

Official US data reveals a significant decline in both export value and quantity in the country's largest export market.

Exporters attribute their loss of export share in the US market to some domestic issues such as high operating costs and lack of diversification.

Data released by the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) on April 4th shows that Bangladesh's total apparel exports to the United States in January and February 2024 amounted to $1.18 billion.

This marks a decline of 19.24% compared to $1.46 billion during the same period in 2023.

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From January to February this year, the US imported 395.69 million square meters of clothing from Bangladesh, a decrease of approximately 12.79% from 453.73 million square meters in January-February 2023.

In contrast, in the first two months of this year, China's clothing exports to the US increased by 0.48% in value and 14.94% in quantity. During January-February 2024, Vietnam's clothing exports to the US also grew, with a value increase of 0.14% and quantity increase of 8.81%.

However, the total value of clothing imports into the US from around the world declined by 7.78% in the first two months of this year to $12.18 billion, below $13.21 billion in January and February 2023.

Mohammad Hatem, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), cited slow progress in work orders.

He told the Financial Express that exporters are struggling to meet delivery times for current work orders due to severe gas crises.

Bangladesh's delivery times are relatively longer compared to China and Vietnam. He pointed out that the current unstable gas supply is exacerbating the situation.

"Bangladesh has the highest standards and compliance, but we are at a disadvantage in other areas," commented a leader in the knitwear export sector.

Fazlul Hoque, former chairman of BKMEA, believes that Bangladesh is losing competitiveness due to gradually increasing business costs, while China and Vietnam are actively offering lower prices to attract clothing orders.

"Bangladesh is striving for price competitiveness because its policies do not support costs, and all forecasts indicate that costs will further rise," Mr. Hoque told the Economic Times.

He noted that it would be difficult for Bangladesh to regain market share in the US if it continues to lose it.

OTEXA data shows that China's clothing exports to the US reached $2.54 billion in the first two months of 2024, an increase of 0.48% from $2.52 billion in January-February 2023.

Similarly, the US imported $2.36 billion worth of clothing from Vietnam in the first two months of 2024, roughly the same level as in January-February 2023.

In January-February 2024, the US's pharmaceutical imports from Cambodia also increased by 15.34% to $545.2 million, compared to $472.67 million during the same period in 2023.

India's clothing exports to the US market decreased by 13.75% to $759.48 million in the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

Data shows that the US's pharmaceutical imports from Indonesia declined by 17.25% to $660.35 million in the first two months of 2024, compared to $797.99 million during the same period in 2023.

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