As one goes, the Bangladeshi garment industry turns to India to purchase raw materials

“One waxes and wanes, the other waxes and wanes.” This term is vividly reflected in the relationship between China and India. China continues to lose ground in global m…

“One waxes and wanes, the other waxes and wanes.” This term is vividly reflected in the relationship between China and India. China continues to lose ground in global markets due to COVID-19 restrictions and strict U.S. sanctions. Bangladesh has shifted its focus to importing raw man-made fiber yarns and fabrics from India to fulfill apparel orders from the United States and Europe.

India has gained market share with its competitive prices, high-quality raw materials, improved delivery times and the opening of two new land ports. In December 2022, the Bangladesh government allowed the import of man-made fiber yarns through Benapole and two other new land ports, namely Murla in Satkhira and Shona Masjid in Chapai Nawabgan and fabrics to save time and meet global orders on schedule.

India Textile and Trade Expo showcases specialized fabrics from Gujarat mills

The ready-made garment industry has made Bangladesh one of the world’s largest exporters, with the industry accounting for 84% of the country’s exports. With markets opening up to supply raw materials to Bangladesh, India is focusing on improving its infrastructure for man-made fiber garments at a time when demand for cotton garments is dwindling.

At the India Textile and Trade Expo in January 2023, more than 60 companies from the textile hub of Gujarat showcased yarns and specialty fabrics, including man-made fibers and blended yarns. These high-priced specialized fabrics are used to make women’s clothing, bridal gowns, abayas, saris (traditional South Asian women’s clothing) and children’s clothing, and form the bulk of global export orders.

Shovon Islam, president of Mahjong Group, one of Bangladesh’s largest garment exporters, said the group used to import almost all of its needs from China. Last year, they imported 20% of their raw materials from India. In particular, they increased their imports of raw materials for export to the US market.

At the same time, a delegation of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) headed by Chairman Hasan is expected to visit India to plan for the procurement of man-made yarn for its global export portion. Hasan said that Gujarat has a reputation for man-made fiber yarns and fabrics. Bangladesh has also paid special attention to such products. Overall, the association has increased focus on raw materials produced in Gujarat and reduced imports from China.

Man-made fibers are in greater demand

It is estimated that the global clothing market will be worth US$440 billion in 2021, of which man-made fiber clothing accounts for more than 50%. Bangladesh’s cotton garment exports account for 72%; man-made fiber garments account for 24%, and the rest are silk, wool and others.

However, a Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) report states that the growth of the man-made fiber apparel market will continue to be greater than that of the cotton market in the coming years. In 2021, local textile mills contributed only 15% of Bangladesh’s total man-made fiber clothing exports, about 70% were imported raw materials from China, and 10% came from India. But that’s changing now. Global sourcing of apparel from other countries is increasing amid fears of more restrictions in China, which in turn will make Bangladesh import more apparel from India.

Ultimately, it will be good for India if the local manufacturing environment that supplies raw materials to the global ready-made garments sector improves and plays its cards right.

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Author: clsrich