Bangladesh emerges as world’s second largest knitwear maker

Bangladesh emerges as world’s second largest knitwear maker
It overtakes Turkey in volume, eyes China

Jubair Hasan

Bangladesh has become the world’s second largest knitwear exporter beating Turkey in terms of volume last year, the knitwear exporters said Saturday.

The country exported 7.78 billion pieces of knitted items such as T-shirts, sweaters in 2010 against Turkey’s shipment of 7.74 billion pieces, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) said.

“We overtook Turkey as the world’s second largest knitwear manufacturer last year. Volume-wise, we are now only second to China,” BKMEA first vice-president Md Habibur Rahman told the FE.

Mr. Rahman said Turkey is still ahead of Bangladesh in terms of values as they exported knitted clothing worth $6.92 billion last year, compared to Bangladesh’s shipment of $6.19 billion.

“Our apparel export has been growing at an impressive 40 per cent rate in the current fiscal year. If the growth continues at this rate, we can beat Turkey in values by next fiscal year,” he said.

He said Turkish knitwear manufacturers produce high-value added products such as sportswear catering to western fashion retailers, while Bangladesh mainly operates in low-cost products such as T-shirts.

“We are in the knitwear business since the 1990s. By contrast, Turkey has been a major garment maker since the Second World War. They don’t take cheap orders because of high labour cost,” he added.

Turkey — Europe’s fastest-growing economy — has also emerged as an important apparel market for Bangladesh in recent years with shipment spiking 65 per cent in FY 2009 to $108 million.

Despite steady erosion of its competitive advantages, China remains the world’s largest knitwear and woven garment manufacturers, accounting for some half of the world’s $500 billion apparel market.

China’s market share in Turkey has been gradually overtaken by other apparel exporters including Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a research by a local institute.

It said Dhaka has been the leading supplier of a number of products in Turkey, which prompted Ankara to decide to slap 27 per cent safeguard tariff on some of the Bangladeshi apparels.


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