After losing its second position as the second-largest apparel exporter in the global market to Vietnam in 2020, Bangladesh regained it in 2021 with export earnings of $35.81.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh earned $35.81 billion in 2021, while Vietnam earned $32.75 billion in the same period as per the data of the General Statistics Office.

In 2020, Bangladesh lost its second position as apparel exporter to Vietnam, when it earned $27.47 billion against $29.80 billion.

Bangladesh reclaimed its post-strong recovery as the export earnings grew by 30.36% to $35.81 billion, while Vietnam’s exports rose by 9.89 percent to $32.75 billion against $29.80 billion in 2020.

Knitwear products contributed a lot to the total apparel exports earnings. Knitwear exports rose by 37.72 percent to $19.59 billion compared to $14.22 billion. Woven products fetched $16.21 billion, up by 22.46%, which was $13.24 billion in the same period a year ago.

Talking to Textile Today, exports and industry people said Bangladesh performed better in exports as the manufacturers were able to keep their factories running in 2021. In 2020 the factory owners had to keep the factories shut for several weeks due to lockdown.

On the other hand, a good number of buyers relocated work orders from China.

“It was a temporary change in ranking in the global apparel export market as the COVID-19 pandemic hit our production badly, which negatively impacted our exports,” Abdus Salam Murshedy, Managing Director of Envoy Textile told the Textile Today.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, government-enforced lockdown and factories’ production were hampered. As a result, our exports declined sharply. Though, later it recovered but could reach the pre-pandemic level, said Salam, also a former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

On the other hand, Vietnam factories were functional as the Covid-19 infection rate was much slower than in Bangladesh. As a result, Vietnam earned more. But in 2021 we were flooded with work orders and earned better reclaiming our position, he added.