RMG Export is the main source of export earnings for Bangladesh. Day by day Bangladesh is losing its market share of worldwide RMG export to Vietnam.  Being the largest country of RMG export after China and EU(Combined) Bangladesh is getting numerous challenges everyday. 

In 2018, Bangladesh lost a portion of its market share to Vietnam. Bangladesh is holding 6.4% of global clothing export whereas Vietnam is holding 6.2% (WTO , World Statistical Review, 2019). In 2017, Bangladesh was holding 6.5% market share while Vietnam’s market share was 5.9%.

RMG Export from Bangladesh. Image Copyright: THE CIVIL INSIGHT


In the basket of Bangladesh, main exportable apparels are mainly RMG such as Shirt, Trousers, T-Shirt, Denim, Sweater, Undergarments etc. RMG is the main export product of Bangladesh for a long time.

According to OFFICE OF TEXTILES AND APPAREL (OTEXA, US), China and Vietnam exported $24.9 and $13.5 billion respectively to the US Market. 

In 2019, Bangladesh exported apparels for $5.9 billion to US and secured 3rd position among the  apparel exporting countries to US

In  2018, Bangladesh fetched $5.4 billion from apparel export in US market while Vietnam’s export volume was $12.2 bullion.

Currently Bangladesh has 7.25% market share of apparel export while Vietnam is holding 16.04%. Even after the trade war, China has the largest share holding 28.9% of the total apparel export in American Market.

Due to the Trade War, China lost 13% apparel export in US market. Interesting thing is that Bangladesh and Vietnam are the main beneficiaries of this whole new ball game between China and the US. This new opportunity for Bangladeshi RMG export could have been exploited effectively.

Bangladesh fortunately received a lot of work orders due to the Trade War. These work orders were mainly shifted from China and made additional export benefits for Bangladesh.

Nonetheless, Vietnam’s rise in apparel market is a clear threat for Bangladesh. Vietnam has signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with EU  on June 30, 2019. The EU-Vietnam Free-Trade Agreement (EVFTA) would abolish 99% of customs duties, eliminate bureaucratic hurdles by aligning standards for goods like cars and medicine, and ensure easier market access for both European and Vietnamese companies. 

This FTA is indirectly providing a tip-off for Bangladesh that Bangladesh must adopt a new strategy to fight Vietnam in the near future. Unfortunately Bangladesh doesn’t have any bi-lateral FTA with any country till now.

Bangladesh ranked poorly (168th) in Ease of Doing Business Report, 2019 published by World Bank. While Vietnam secured 70th position among the 190 countries in the report. Vietnam’s FDI inflow was $15.5 billion in 2018 while Bangladesh received $3.61 billion only. 

Bangladesh has 4,621 garment factories while Vietnam has more 6,000 factories. Bangladesh manufactures low-end apparel products while Vietnam gets work orders for high-end apparel products.

To get through the upcoming unpropitious situation, Bangladesh must develop an integrated strategy for RMG Sectors. The following issued must be incorporated into the strategy. 

  • Product Diversification
  • Market Diversification
  • Branding of Bangladeshi RMG Products
  • Promotions of Bangladeshi RMG Products
  • Diplomatic pursuit
  • Free Trade Agreement
  • FDI Inflow in RMG Sectors


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