Future of Textile and Garment Industry in Bangladesh

In 1971, after liberation war Bangladesh economy was “agriculture” oriented. At that time Bangladesh adopted “export” oriented industrialization by focusing on textile sector. If we say more accurately it is ready made garment (RMG) sector. Though the history of textile industry in this country is very rich. From 16th to 18th century under Mughal rule bangle was one of the most important places for textile production. For example, bangle produced more than 50% of textile and around 80% of silk imported by Dutch from Asia back then. Now a day’s modern textile industry plays one of the most important roles in Bangladesh economy. Between 2011/2012 and 2017/2018 the growth rate of textile export was 60% and it is about 85% of countries total export. Now Bangladesh is 2nd largest RMG exporter in the world. They are aiming to earn $50 billion from this sector in 2020/2021. In FY18 (fiscal year) Export Promoting Bureau (EPB) registered 8.76% growth in garment sectors. Which was 1.51% higher the set target. In this article I will discuss future of textile and apparel industry in Bangladesh.

bangladesh rmg export growth trend 2020

bangladesh rmg export growth trend
Fig: Bangladesh RMG export growth trend (in billion$)

Growth factors:
There are almost 4482 garment factories operating right now (June9, 2019). With the export value of 32.92 billion$.

apparel export

This sector contribution around 83% of total export value of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is currently at 3rd position in apparel export and 2nd position in RMG export.

top 10 exporters of textiletop 10 exporters of clothing

This unbelievable result is happened because of some vital factors. In 2012 a survey was done by Md. Samsul Alam and Kaoru Natsuda on Bangladeshi garment firms shows that the “low cost” labour is the main reason behind the growth of textile industry in Bangladesh.

garment workers minimum wages

There is some industry driver. Such as-

  1. Geographically Bangladesh has easy access with seaport, airport and land port. It makes transportation much easier.
  2. Since 2005 Bangladesh introduced quota free textile rule. Because of quota free access in EU Bangladesh get a high advantage in term of export its product. Bangladesh holds around 21% market share of denim export in EU.
  3. China is currently moving to high end manufacturing industry. It creates golden opportunities for Bangladesh to capture low end manufacturing industry. Bangladesh has already captured two third of low-end manufacturing company which was previously captured by china.
  4. Natural resource is very much plenty in Bangladesh. Natural gas and energy are cheap here.
  5. Govt policy is very helpful. For example-In financial year 2018-2019 govt has decreased corporate tax from 15% to 12% for apparel makers.

It’s time for upgrade.
It is true that Bangladesh one of the major players in textile industry. But the main question is will Bangladesh be the same place after 20-30 year? Bangladesh apparel industry is nearly 40 years old. But textile industry is not same as past. Industry is changing day by day. With this many opportunities arise.

65% of global apparel is non cotton. But apparel in Bangladesh is cotton based. Bangladesh export mainly five category products- trouser, t-shirt, jacket, shirt and sweater. So, it is a great opportunity for Bangladesh. By increasing investment in non-cotton apparel, we can capture market share as we have captive market and skilled labour. Till now Bangladesh manufacture only low-end product, but now investor look for high end item. If we upgrade our factories with latest technology and staff with sound technical knowledge, we can have huge investment in high-end product such as- blazer, sportswear, swimwear, raincoats, uniforms, lingerie.

new exported products

But this product needs manmade fiber (MMF) including polyester, rayon, spandex and so on. But MMF production capacity is still insignificant. Another opportunity is rising production cost in china and they are shifting to high value good. Now it is a great opportunity for Bangladesh to take the shifting order.

Bangladesh textile industry has very bright future with its robust demand in garment sector. But it is true that there are some challenges that Bangladesh has to face to survive in this sector. We know that availability of abundant natural gas, cheap labour, energy is the backbone of this industry. But in recent years this thing turned into hostile. Raw cotton and synthetic fiber for sipping sector also not produced in Bangladesh.

growth in cotton import in bangladesh

Energy became insufficient and water became scarce. Manpower is not available as past because of low cost labour. However, government is looking forward to finding its solution.

From an agriculture-based economy to today’s export- import oriented economy Bangladesh came a long way. With the help of nearly 40-year-old apparel and garment industry Bangladesh raised its foreign reserve from 270 million$(1972) to 33000 million$(2018). Still there is lot of opportunities for Bangladesh to grow at its full potential. But today’s textile industry is more competitive than any other time. For this reason, Bangladesh will face some challenges. By solving those problems Bangladesh can creating a technology-based garment industry and can became the leader of this sector. as it is a country which is full of huge youth population. So we can say that Bangladesh has bright future in textile and apparel industry.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textile_industry_in_Bangladesh#Early_history
  2. https://www.innovationintextiles.com/prospects-for-the-textile-and-clothing-industry-in-bangladesh-2019-june/
  3. https://databd.co/profiles/industries/profile-rmg-and-textile
  4. http://theindependentbd.com/printversion/details/147102
  5. https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/6944/current-scenario-of-the-textile-industry-in-bangladesh
  6. https://www.bgmea.com.bd/
  7. https://bkmea.com/
  8. https://www.statista.com/
  9. https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/

Author of This Article:
Kazi Sadman
Textile Engineering College, Noakhali
Email: nafe2290@gmail.com

You may also like:

  1. History of Textile and Garment Industries in Bangladesh
  2. Historical Background of Textile Industry in Bangladesh
  3. Contribution of Textile and RMG Sector in Bangladesh Economy
  4. Ready-Made Garments (RMG): The Leading Earning Sector in Bangladesh
  5. Prospects of Garments Industry in Bangladesh
  6. Safety Measures for Garment Industry According to Buyer Requirements
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  8. Professional Practice of Fashion Merchandising in RMG Sector of Bangladesh

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