Ready-made garment exports jumped 15.7 per cent against the July-December period last year to $17 bn, while knitwear exports rose nearly 14 per cent to $8.7 bn. Woven garment exports were up 17 per cent to $8.4bn, according to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh.

The President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Siddiqur Rahman, said the future outlook for garment shipments is “even brighter” on the back of higher orders from Western retailers with over 90 per cent of the work on factory remediation recommended by the Accord and the Alliance being complete.

According to the report, factory owners in Bangladesh have spent over $3 bn in the last five years on remediation measures following the Tazreen factory fire and the subsequent Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013. Rahman says the moves to rectify the issues have “brightened Bangladesh’s image abroad.” However, he says more needs to be done to grow the country’s productivity to make Bangladesh more competitive worldwide, including improving logistics.

The BGMEA recently announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Directorate of Technical Education, a government board responsible for regulating and developing technical and vocational secondary education, to train workers in the garment sector. According to the BGMEA, the collaboration will implement the Skill and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) to give young people training in garment sewing and knitting.