• The tremendous success of readymade garment exports
from Bangladesh over the last two decades has surpassed
the most optimistic expectations. Today the apparel export
sector is a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing and export
industry in the country. The overall impact of the
readymade garment exports is certainly one of the most
significant social and economic developments in
contemporary Bangladesh. With over one and a half million
women workers employed in semi-skilled and skilled jobs
producing clothing for exports, the development of the
apparel export industry has had far-reaching implications
for the society and economy of Bangladesh.
From 1947 to 1971 the textile industry, like most industries in East Pakistan, were
largely owned by West Pakistanis. During that period, in the 1960s, local Bengali
entrepreneurs had set up their own large textile and jute factories. Following its
separation from East Pakistan the newly formed Bangladesh lost access to both
capital and technical expertise.
Until the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, the textile sector was primarily part of
the process of import substitution industrialization (ISI) to replace imports. After
the liberation, Bangladesh adopted export-oriented industrialization (EOI) by
focusing on the textile and clothing industry, particularly the ready made garment
(RMG) sector. Immediately after the founding of Bangladesh (1971)), tea and jute
were the most export-oriented sectors. But with the constant threat of flooding,
declining jute fiber prices and a significant decrease in world demand, the
contribution of the jute sector to the country’s economy deteriorated.
The 1974 New Investment Policy restored the rights to both private and foreign
investors. Bangladesh's development model switched from a state-sponsored
capitalist mode of industrial development with mainly state-owned enterprises
(SOE) to private sector-led industrial growth.
5. Problems Regarding With RMG
• The garment industry of Bangladesh has been the key export division and a main
source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. National labor laws do not apply in
the EPZs, leaving BEPZA in full control over work conditions, wages and benefits.
Garment factories in Bangladesh provide employment to 40 percent of industrial
workers. But without the proper laws the worker are demanding their various wants
and as a result conflict is began with the industry.
• Low working salary is another vital fact which makes the labor conflict. Worker
made strike, layout to capture their demand. Some time bonus and the overtime
salary are the important cause of crisis. Insufficient government policy about this
sector is a great problem in Garments Company.
• There are some other problems which are associated with this sector. Those are- lack
of marketing tactics, absence of easily on-hand middle management, a small number
of manufacturing methods, lack of training organizations for industrial workers,
supervisors and managers, autocratic approach of nearly all the investors, fewer
process units for textiles and garments, sluggish backward or forward blending
procedure, incompetent ports, entry/exit complicated and loading/unloading takes
much time, time-consuming custom clearance etc.
6. Challenge of Globalization
• Bangladesh faces the challenge of achieving accelerated economic growth and
alleviating the massive poverty that afflicts nearly two-fifths of its 135 million
people. To meet this challenge, market-oriented liberalizing policy reforms were
initiated in the mid-1980s and were pursued much more vigorously in the
1990s. These reforms were particularly aimed at moving towards an open
economic regime and integrating with the global economy.
• While most low-income countries depend largely on the export of primary
commodities, Bangladesh has made the transition from being primarily a juteexporting country to a garment-exporting one. This transition has been dictated
by the country’s resource endowment, characterized by extreme land scarcity
and a very high population density, making economic growth dependent on the
export of labor-intensive manufactures.
7. Market Diversification
• Bangladeshi RMG products are mainly destined to the US and EU. Back
in 1996-97, Bangladesh was the 7th and 5th largest apparel exporter to the
USA and European Union respectively. The industry was successful in
exploring the opportunities in markets away from EU and US. In FY07, a
successful turnaround was observed in exports to third countries, which
having a negative growth in FY06 rose three-fold in FY07, which helped
to record 23.1 percent overall export growth in the RMG sector. It is
anticipated that the trend of market diversification will continue and this
will help to maintain the growth momentum of export earnings. At the
same time a recent WTO review points out that Bangladesh has not been
able to exploit fully the duty free access to EU that it enjoys. While this is
pointed out to be due to stringent rules of origin (ROO) criteria, the
relative stagnation in exports to EU requires further analysis.
8. Product Diversification
• The growth pattern of RMG exports can be categorized into two
distinct phases. During the initial phase it was the woven category,
which contributed the most. Second phase is the emergence of
knitwear products that powered the recent double digit (year-onyear) growth starting in FY04. In the globalized economy and everchanging fashion world, product diversification is the key to
continuous business success. Starting with a few items, the
entrepreneurs of the RMG sector have also been able to diversify the
product base ranging from ordinary shirts, T-shirts, trousers, shorts,
pajamas, ladies and children’s wear to sophisticated high value items
like quality suits, branded jeans, jackets, sweaters, embroidered
wear etc. It is clear that value addition accrues mostly in the
designer items, and the sooner local entrepreneurs can catch on to
this trend the brighter be the RMG future.
9. Labor Productivity
• The productive efficiency of labor is more important determinant for
gaining comparative advantage than the physical abundance of labor. In
Bangladesh, the garment workers are mostly women with little education
and training. The employment of an uneven number of unskilled labors by
the garment factories results in low productivity and comparatively more
expensive apparels. Bangladesh labor productivity is known to be lower
when it compared with of Sri Lanka, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Bangladesh must look for ways to improve the productivity of its labor
force if it wants to compete regionally if not globally. Because of cheap
labor if our country makes the labor productivity in the apex position, then
we think the future of this sector is highly optimistic.
• Labor Productivity of Bangladesh Is 70%
• Quota alone cannot ensure market share rather it create opportunities to
enter into the market. On the other hand, rate of quota utilization depends
on relative price and quality, which can ultimately determine marketability
and consumer acceptance. Considering quota utilization as an indicator of
competitive strength of RMG industry Bangladesh has been able to develop
a competitive strength in the apparels market in the USA and EU.
• Bangladesh has recently utilized 100 percent of its quota of silk trousers in
the US markets. Quota utilization rates have also been impressive in the
case of export of gloves/mittens. Bangladesh should take necessary steps to
expand exports of these items in the US market when imports will be
liberalized (from 1 January 2005). These categories include men's/boys'
outerwear in which Bangladesh appears to have competitive edge vis-a-vis
its neighboring countries like India, and also women's/girls' under-garments
as well as outwear.
11. The future
• The RMG sector is expected to grow despite the global
financial crisis of 2009. As China is finding it
challenging to make textile and foot wear items at
cheap price, due to rising labor costs, many foreign
investors, are coming to Bangladesh to take advantage
of the low labor cost. Even now for the readymade
garments most of the manufacture need to bring all the
accessories from abroad, which is very costly. Now
they are start using locally accessories minting the
required quality. Zippers, buttons, labels, hooks,
hangers, elastic bands, thread, backboards, butterfly
pins, clips, collar stays, collarbones and cartons are the
major garment accessories produced in Bangladesh.
• The Ready-Made Garments (RMG) industry occupies a unique position in
the Bangladesh economy. It is the largest exporting industry in Bangladesh,
which experienced phenomenal growth during the last 25 years. By taking
advantage of an insulated market under the provision of Multi Fibre
Agreement (MFA) of GATT, it attained a high profile in terms of foreign
exchange earnings, exports, industrialization and contribution to GDP
within a short span of time. The industry plays a key role in employment
generation and in the provision of income to the poor. To remain
competitive in the post-MFA phase, Bangladesh needs to remove all the
structural impediments in the transportation facilities, telecommunication
network, and power supply, management of seaport, utility services and in
the law and order situation. The government and the RMG sector would
have to jointly work together to maintain competitiveness in the global
RMG market. Given the remarkable entrepreneurial initiatives and the
dedication of its workforce, Bangladesh can look forward to advancing its
share of the global RMG market.