Bangladesh dominates the global denim market and becomes the top exporter of denim garments in both the European Union and the United States markets despite crisis caused by declining consumer demand, experts said.
The country is now in the lead over other denim exporting countries in terms of export volume and growth, they added.
Mohiuddin Rubel, director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and additional managing director of Denim Expert Limited, told Bangladesh Post that the country’s denim market in the US has always been commendable despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war crisis.
The country's denim export to the US market has increased due to the infrastructure and technology development in the country as well as the skilled hands in the sector, he said.
This sector has faced various hurdles for want of adequate gas and utility support due to the ongoing global economic turmoil, he added.
Major General (Retd) Rafiqul Islam, former deputy managing director of Ha-Meem Denim Ltd, said, “International brands and buyers have adopted the 'China plus one' policy for several reasons, including global geopolitics and environmental concern. Bangladesh got 100 percent benefits. However, Bangladesh had the opportunity to do better if there was no energy crisis in the country.”
However, China-plus-one is a strategy in which companies avoid investing only in China and diversify their businesses to alternative destinations. China was an attractive investment location due to low cost of labour and production and an increasing domestic consumer market.
According to the information of the US Office of the Textiles and Apparels (OTEXA), Bangladesh was the top exporter of denim to the US from January to September this year.
Mexico is in second place while the third top exporter is Pakistan.
China is the fifth largest clothing exporter in the world market. Bangladesh's main competitor Vietnam is fourth.
Bangladesh exported denim garments worth $740 million to the US market. It was followed by $560 million (Mexico), $380 million (Pakistan).
Bangladesh denim has a stronger demand in Europe than in the US market. Bangladesh has exported $1 billion worth of denim to the European Union (EU) till August this year.
During that time, EU countries increased denim imports from around the world by 22 percent, but Bangladesh has increased the denim export by 40 percent to the EU market, according to the BGMEA data.
Turkey ranks second in denim exports to the EU market. It has exported denim worth about $800 million.
The fourth and fifth largest exporters of denim to the EU are Tunisia and China respectively. Pakistan is the third largest exporter of denim.