Indian textile and garment exports have see a sharp rise by 6 percent to the US in the first four months of 2014 due to dip in garment shipments from Bangladesh over safety compliance from global buyers.
Beside this, slowdown in Chinese supplies has also continued to help India as well as Vietnam in claiming the top two slots in terms of the rate of growth in shipments to the US. This has been at the cost of a perceptible dip in the export growth of Bangladesh, a very strong player in the garments segment during the period. In particular, after last year’s tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Dhaka.
According to the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) data, India’s 6 percent growth during January-April 2014, in comparison with an average 1-2 per cent growth, is being seen as significant as it is despite the sharp strengthening of the Indian rupee since September 2013.
Indonesia too recorded a sharp contraction in the growth in export shipments to the US during this period, primarily due to appreciation in Indonesian rupiah’s since January 2014.
The overall growth of textile and garment exports into the US market during the four-month period, according to the data, was just over 3 percent.
Bangladesh was clocking an average growth of over 5 per cent in shipments to the US in the months preceding the tragic accident. Bangladesh’s biggest market is the European Union, where it benefits from a zero duty access under the LDC (least developed country) head.
Although the Dhaka factory fire happened on April 24 last year, the impact on Bangladeshi export orders became evident only by early this year as the suppliers were flush with orders for up to the winter season of 2013 before the fire occurred.
Big buyers from the US and the UK, including JCPenney, Gap, Laura Ashley and Next, renegotiated contracts with Bangladeshi suppliers in the wake of increased safety compliance audits after the fire. Infact, a number of orders were also diverted to Vietnam and India.
Readymade garments have also played a significant role in India’s double-digit export growth in May, clocking a 25 per cent growth. The turnaround is significant as India has been steadily losing ground to Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia in the US market for apparel and textile products.
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