South Asia, one of the world’s most populous areas, has several advantages in the manufacture of textiles and textile products. The production of cotton, an abundant labour force, the availability of water, proximity to emerging markets, and the availability of other raw materials and inputs have made the region an attractive place for the continued relocation of textile production to low-cost countries.
About 30% of the world’s cotton and 10% of its polyester fibers are now produced in South Asia region.
Since the abolition of textile and clothing quotas from developing countries in December 2004, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been among the main beneficiaries of this change, while the Maldives and Nepal have lost out significantly.
Bangladesh’s textile industry is comprised of a mix of small- to large-scale privately and publicly owned companies.
The textile industry has played an important role in Bangladesh’s economy for a long time. Currently, the textile industry in Bangladesh accounts for 45 percent of all industrial employment and contributes 5 percent to the total national income. The industry employs nearly 4 million people, mostly women.
A huge 78 percent of the country’s export earnings come from textiles and apparel, according to the latest figures available. Bangladesh exports its apparel products worth nearly $5 billion per year to the United States, European Union (EU), Canada and other countries of the world. It is the sixth largest apparel supplier to the United States and EU countries.
Major products exported from Bangladesh include polyester filament fabrics, man-made filament mixed fabrics, PV fabrics, viscose filament fabrics and man-made spun yarns. Major garments exported include knitted and woven shirts and blouses, trousers, skirts, shorts, jackets, sweaters and sportswear, among other fashion apparel.