Garment exports have been the mainstay of Bangladesh's exports for last many years and have been rapidly growing and forming the major part of the exports from the country. The following table brings out figures of exports of apparel from Bangladesh in the last over 2 decades. From a 32% share in exports from Bangladesh in 1989, the RMG exports now constitutes over 80% of all exports . All the figures have been taken from the data published in an article by the BGMEA President – Mr Md Atiqul Islam- during the apparel summit.

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RMG Exports from Bangladesh 1989 to 2014

Year Export of RMG Total Export from BD % of RMG Export to Total Number of Garment factories Employment in Millions
1989-90 624 1,923 32.45 759 0.34
1994-95 2,228 3,472 64.17 2182 1.20
1999-00 4,349 5,752 75.61 3200 1.60
2004-05 6,417 8,654 74.15 4107 2.00
2009-11 12,496 16,204 77.12 5063 3.60
2010-11 17,914 22,924 78.15 5150 3.60
2011-12 19,089 24,287 78.60 5400 4.00
2012-13 21,515 27,018 79.63 5400 4.00
2013-14 24,492 30,186 81.13 4536* 4.00**

All figures in US$ millions 
* A number of least compliant factories have closed down after the incidents in last 2 years. 
** Latest figures to be updated
During its growth over last 2 decade and more, the RMG exports from the country has grown well over 15% and has overcome (and is overcoming) many of the challenges that are coming in the way including child labour, MFA phase-out , social compliance etc. The tragic incidents in the last 2 years has further provided the impetus to overcome major challenges that come up as a part of growth in most developing economies. Despite adverse publicity after the Rana Plaza incident, the RMG exports growth during 2013 was about 13.8%. 
The report published by BGMEA sites a number of important reports published by  international organizations bringing out the positive sentiment on sourcing from  Bangladesh.

MckinseyForecast , Summer 2014 
McKinsey & Co. surveyed 29 chief procurement officers in 2013 at leading apparel companies responsible for a combined purchase of Euro 29 billion. They found that Bangladesh remains at top of the list of apparel –sourcing markets expected to grow in importance in the next few years. 

US Fashion Industry Association Forecast, June 2014

The 'Benchmarking Study' published by the US fashion industry in June 2014 mentions that 60% of the respondents say they expect to somewhat increase sourcing from Bangladesh in the next two years .
HSBC Trade Confidence Index , Sept 2014
The trade confidence index rose sharply from 103 in 2013 to 141 in H1 2014 as per HSBC . This index is second highest in a sample of 23 countries. The authorities are introducing more safety regulations to the garments sector and this appears to have provided an additional boost to confidence.

The China Factor
Gradual reduction of bulk apparel production by China as rising costs, socio-economic and livelihood uplifts, shift to high tech industries has made large apparel buyers concerned to shift their sourcing from China to other countries . Bangladesh has become the biggest beneficiary of this outcome. China occupied (as per WTO) a 37.35% share in global clothing exports in 2011 whereas Bangladesh occupied about 4.83% (which has increased slightly now). This huge gap is also reflecting on a huge opportunity for Bangladesh as it strengthens its position as second largest exporter and positions itself to take a large part of the ' China apparel export cake'.

New Markets

It is interesting to note that Bangladesh is also exploring new markets and diversifying its exports and going beyond the traditional exports to EU and US. The share of apparel exports to markets other than EU and North America was 6.88% in 2008-09 and increased to 14.71% in 2013-14. The new markets include Japan, China, India, South Korea, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. The duty free access and preferential market access by countries like India, China, Korea and Malaysia have helped this process.

Export Components
The product wise  exports from Bangladesh given below – indicating that the highest share is occupied by  Trousers , followed by T-shirts and Jackets while sweaters and shirts follow. Over the last 5 years , however, the highest growth has been in the exports of shirts and jackets. In the period of about 4 years from 2009-10 to 2013-14 , jacket exports increased by over 120% whereas exports of shirts increased by about 118%. Trouser exports increased by about 87% .

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