Bangladesh’sexport earnings have dropped by 7.3 percent to $2.92 bn in September, the second consecutive month to face negative growth, amid sharp decline in apparel exports. However, the export earnings during July-September, the first quarter of the current fiscal year, plunged by 2.94 percent to $9.65 bn. The apparel sector, which accounts for 84 percent of total exports, witnessed a 4.70 percent decline to $2.34 bn in September. Knitwear products earned $1.25 bn, down by 3.45 percent, while woven goods fetched $1.09 bn, posting a 6.09 percent fall. In the first quarter, exports from the RMG sector declined by 1.64 percent to $8.06 bnaccording to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

The readymade garment (RMG) export to most of non-traditional markets witnessed negative growth during the month of July- September— first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY 2019- 20). Only few major markets grew by 0.29 per cent year-on-year to $968.2 mn in month of (July-September) of the current fiscal year 2019-20 compare to the same period of the previous year 2018-19 which was $965.33.

Among the non-traditional markets China, India, Brazil and Chile are main countries. In July-September of 2019-20 financial year, Bangladesh earned $109.98 mn from China with negative growth 1.65 per cent from $111.83 mn in the same period of financial year 2018- 19, China, has started importing products from us because the Government of China has allowed duty-free access to over 5,000 Bangladeshi products.

Further earned $163.12 mn from India with growth 12.42 per cent growth from $145.10 mnand $26.12 mn from Chile with negative growth 5.29 per cent growth from $27.58 mn and $28.97 mn from Brazil with negative growth 26.10 per cent growth from $39.20 mn in the same period of financial year 2018-19 according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Presently, non-traditional markets are contributing 15-16 per cent of total export earnings. There is number of factors including sluggish EU economy, the trade tension between China and US, falling consumption, losing competitive edge to their rivals like Vietnam, devalued currencies in major competitor countries and recent declining price trend of raw materials, especially cotton and yarn.

The garment manufacturers need to explore the new destinations and markets since the government is kind enough to provide the cash incentive for so long period of time with focus on value added products.