Bangladesh's share in the United States (US) apparel market has increased by one point to 8.10% in the first nine months of this year when other major apparel suppliers have faced lower exports by a quarter during this period.
However, during January-September 2020, Bangladesh suffered an over 13% lower export year-on-year. The country exported apparel goods worth about $4 billion last year, according to data of the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).
At this time, China's apparel exports to the US fell by over 45% while that of Vietnam by 9%, India by around 30% and Pakistan by 13%, according to the OTEXA.
The data also mentioned Bangladesh exported an additional 4 million square metres of apparel in September, up from 157 million square metres last year.
However, the country's apparel export earnings were more than 2% lower in September compared to that year-on-year. It exported $485 million in September last year.
On the other hand, Bangladesh outperformed Mexico and China to become the largest denim exporter to the US in the first half of this year though export proceeds dropped from the sum a year ago, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Notably, Bangladesh has been the prime denim exporter to European Union markets for the last few years.
Talking to The Business Standard, BGMEA Vice President (Finance) MA Rahim (Feroz) said, during the pandemic, the demand for apparel items has been fallen as buyers are also trying to take the price advantage.
"Business is a part of negotiation. Now we are at a weak position on the negotiation table. We have to fetch orders to run our units which is why business is lower than regular time's," Said Mostafiz Uddin, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE).
The US' total buying is squeezed, but Bangladesh's share is increasing compared to its competitors, said Sharif Zahir, managing director of Ananta Apparels Ltd.
He also mentioned the US has also embargoed on sourcing materials from China's Xinjiang province, which will create further opportunities for Bangladesh to increase its market share.
"The US market has created an opportunity for Bangladesh over the trade tension between the US and China as some orders have shifted to Bangladesh, which is reflected in the trade data," said Sharif who is also a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Mentioning the government's stimulus package benefits, he said, "Now, the second wave has worsened but we do not know how the government will support us. If we get more assistance for survival, it may be reflected at the end of the year's export earnings."
Fazlul Haque, managing director of Plummy Fashion Ltd, said whether the demand for apparel in the US market would increase rapidly depends on the second wave of coronavirus infection.
Measures like lockdown are already being taken due to the virus' second wave in Europe. On the other hand, no initiative has been taken in the US. But if the corona strikes again, there will be turmoil until the vaccine arrives, he also said.