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Diversification can drive RMG export to Europe to $60b by 2030

A study estimates as it notes extra $22.5bn from non-apparel exports

FE REPORT | September 13, 2023 00:00:00

Bangladesh has the potential to raise its readymade garment export earnings up to US$60 billion in the European market by 2030, provided there is diversification within the garment items, mostly non-cotton-based.

Besides, an extra US$22.5 billion could be earned from exports of major non-RMG products by that time.

These projections were presented at a programme on Monday in Dhaka. The event was jointly organised by the Research and Policy Integration for Development Bangladesh (RAPID) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh Office.

Speaking at the event, Dr MA Razzaque, chairman of RAPID, said, "Bangladesh's share in cotton fibre garment exports to the EU is 34.7 per cent, while China's share is only 14.9 per cent."

On the other hand, he said China's share in non-cotton garment items to the EU is 41.2 per cent, while Bangladesh's is only 12.2 per cent.

"So, here Bangladesh has the potential to explore more markets in the EU if it can diversify the products within the garment items," he added.

Mr Razzaque was presenting a study report on 'Exploring Export Diversification Oppor-tunities in the European Union' at the event.

The country's current readymade garment exports to the European markets are around $25 billion per year.

According to the study, Bangladesh's apparel exports to the EU are projected to rise up to $60 billion by 2030.

Razzaque mentioned that sourcing diversification away from China may greatly contribute to Bangladesh's RMG export growth.

He also noted that moving towards man-made fibre (MMF) can be greatly facilitated by extended EU preferences beyond LDC (Least Developed Country) graduation.

These estimations are based on current supply-side capacity, demand conditions and market access conditions.

Non-apparel products with high export potential include footwear, leather goods, home textiles and fish and shrimp.

With the imminent LDC graduation, the urgency for export diversification has never been more pronounced, the study said.

It also highlighted that the EU market, with its vast consumer base and historical trade ties with Bangladesh, can act as a catalyst.

However, in light of the dominant role of the garment sector in Bangladesh's exports, its potential for expansion remains vast, especially as China's share in the global market, including in the EU, dwindles.

Senior Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whitely also addressed the gathering.

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