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Bangladesh gains on China's market share as top EU apparel supplier

Author: Posttime:2017-09-14 08:24:43

BANGLADESH stands to overtake China as the EU's biggest apparel supplier by 2020, says Textile Outlook International from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence, of Auckland, New Zealand.

In 2016 EU apparel imports from Bangladesh increased for the ninth straight year, almost doubling the country's European market share to 23.4 per cent.
China, by contrast, suffered further losses in market share in the EU apparel import market in 2016, said the latest issue of the publication. 
"This trend has been apparent for some time now and it seems set to continue as the Chinese apparel industry grapples with problems of rising costs and labour shortages," said the report.
In 2016 the share of EU apparel imports which came from China fell in volume terms for the sixth consecutive year to 37.9 per cent. In 2010 over half of the volume of EU apparel imports came from China but by 2016 barely a third did so - reflecting a sustained trend by EU buyers towards sourcing from alternative locations.
To hold market share, Chinese exporters appear to be having to cut prices. In 2016 alone, the average price of EU apparel imports from China fell 8.2 per cent.
The success of Bangladeshi garment exporters can be attributed to their ability to export garments to the EU duty-free under the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
The other is their focus on producing and exporting simple, basic apparel at competitive prices, helped by low labour costs.
In 2016, Bangladesh was the second cheapest supplier of apparel to the EU out of the leading ten supplying countries, behind Pakistan but ahead of China. 
Furthermore, it was the cheapest supplier among the leading 10 suppliers in 12 individual apparel categories.
However, it remains to be seen whether the share of EU apparel imports which comes from China will continue to fall or whether it will level out. China still has vast amounts of untapped potential and the capacity of the Bangladeshi apparel industry to sustain growth at the present rate remains an unknown quantity.
The Bangladeshi apparel industry will have to tackle a number of issues in the coming years if it is to maintain its momentum. Such issues include rising production costs, concerns about security, strikes relating to low wages, poor treatment of workers, and factory compliance. However, addressing these issues may force the industry to increase its export prices, and this could put a dampener on demand.
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