The country remained the second largest apparel exporter in the world in terms of export values in 2019
Bangladesh's earnings from merchandise exports in 2019 fell by 3.3 percent year-on-year to $37.94 billion.
Export receipts were $39.25 billion in 2018, according to the World Trade Statistical Review 2020, published by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on July 31.
However, the country exported $3.2 billion worth of commercial services in 2019, which is 7.6 percent higher than that in 2018.
As a result, the total export amounted to $41.15 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.6 percent negative growth.
Additionally, the country shared 0.4 percent of global merchandise exports.
Bangladesh earned a lion share of export from apparel. In 2019, the clothing sector contributed $34 billion, accounting for a 6.8 percent share of the global market.
Despite all the odds, Bangladesh remained the second-largest apparel exporter in the world in terms of export values in 2019.
The third-largest apparel exporter, Vietnam, exported $31 billion worth of clothing in 2019, with its 6.2 percent market share globally.
Vietnam still could not knock off Bangladesh from the second position in 2019 as the latter exported apparels worth around $3 billion more than Vietnam over the whole year, while in 2018, both the countries exported the same amount of clothing to the tune of $32 billion.
With 30.8 percent of the global apparel market share, China continued to maintain its top position with exporting apparel worth $152 billion in 2019.
However, Bangladesh has been importing a large share of intermediate goods of clothing. In 2019, the country imported $10 billion worth of textiles.
Bangladesh's merchandise import concentrated on intermediate goods. In 2018, 60 percent of merchandise import was from intermediate goods.
Meanwhile, the country's imports also shrank by 0.58 percent. In 2019, the merchandise import was $60 billion and commercial service import was $9.52 billion.
Currently, the country is the 48th highest merchandise importer in the world, with a 0.3 percent import share.
In 2019, the country's trade deficit grew by 2.43 percent.
The Covid-19 outbreak is taking a heavy toll on world trade, but even before the pandemic in 2019, global merchandise export decreased by 3 percent and import contracted by 2.9 percent.
The apparel sector is one of the worst victims of the pandemic. In April 2020, clothing demand fell by 37 percent. As a result, Bangladesh faced cancellation of orders amounting to $3.18 billion, according to the report.
However, like Bangladesh, global services export also grew by 2.1 percent in 2019.
About the importance of the service sector during this period, Director-General of WTO Roberto Azevêdo said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the growing importance of the services sector, in particular the distribution sector, in keeping trade flowing."
"The crisis has also underlined the importance of digital trade," he added.