global trade

Bangladesh garment exports rebound from coronavirus crunch

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Bangladesh garment exports rebound from coronavirus crunch

Laborers work at a reopened garment factory in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 18, 2020. - After months of economic turmoil triggered by the long coronavirus lockdown, battered small and medium-sized businesses are attempting to pick up the pieces. The post-confinement world remains a deeply uncertain one, with many business owners battling for survival and hoping they can hang on long enough to benefit from an economic upturn, when it comes. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP) / To go with 'EPIDEMIC-HEALTH-BUSINESS' FOCUS

The reinstatement of canceled orders from retail titans including H&M, Primark, and Walmart revives Bangladesh's garment industry

Bangladesh’s crucial textile industry saw a sharp rebound from the coronavirus crisis in August, with exports surging nearly 50% as factories swung into full gear to meet orders from global retailers, officials said on Tuesday, September 1.

Shipments of ready-made clothes hit $3.3 billion, up from $2.3 billion a year earlier, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said.

The garment industry is the cornerstone of the economy in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest exporter of the goods after China. 

The reinstatement of canceled orders from retail titans including H&M, Primark, and Walmart has revived the industry even though Bangladesh is still suffering from the pandemic, BGMEA spokesman Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Some companies say they are now looking for thousands of workers to cope with new orders. 

The association said in April that western retailers, who normally buy around $30 billion worth of garments each year, canceled $3.2 billion worth after the virus forced stores to shut down.

Shipments collapsed 83% in April and more than 50% in May. 

“Some 80% of those orders have since been reinstated,” Shuvo said. “Still, we have to wait another 5 months to see a clear picture.”

Because of the pandemic, Bangladesh closed factories for one month from March 26. The 4,500 garment factories employ more than 4 million workers – about two-thirds of them women – and hundreds of thousands were laid off.

Hannan Group, which exports high-end fashion to brands such as Esprit and Casamoda in Europe, said it has recruited nearly 1,600 workers in the past two months.

“I think the worst is over. Some retailers have placed new orders and revived some old orders. We need new workers to make the shipment deadline,” Hannan chairman ABM Shamsuddin, whose companies employ 12,000 people, told AFP. – Rappler.com

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