Overview of Bangladesh Garment Industry

Agriculture, as the case in India, has been the backbone of economy and chief source of income for the people of Bangladesh, the country made of villages. Government wants to decrease poverty by getting highest productivity from agriculture and achieve self-reliance in food production. Apart from agriculture, the country is much concerned about the growth of export division. Bangladesh have accelerated and changed her exports substantially from time to time. After Bangladesh came into being, jute and tea were the most export-oriented industries. But with the continual perils of flood, failing jute fibre prices and a considerable decline in world demand, the role of the jute sector to the country’s economy has deteriorated (Spinanger, 1986). After that, focus has been shifted to the function of production sector, especially in garment industry. My Amend

The garment industry of Bangladesh has been the key export division and a main source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. At present, the country generates about $5 billion worth of products each year by exporting garment. The industry provides employment to about 3 million workers of whom 90% are women. Two non-market elements have performed a vital function in confirming the garment industry’s continual success; these elements are (a) quotas under Multi- Fibre Arrangement1 (MFA) in the North American market and (b) special market entry to European markets. The whole procedure is strongly related with the trend of relocation of production.

Displacement of Production in the Garment Industry

The global economy is now controlled by the transfer of production where firms of developed countries swing their attention to developing countries. The new representation is centred on a core-periphery system of production, with a comparatively small centre of permanent employees dealing with finance, research and development, technological institution and modernisation and a periphery containing dependent elements of production procedure. Reducing costs and increasing output are the main causes for this disposition. They have discovered that the simplest way to undercharge is to move production to a country where labour charge and production costs are lower. Since developing nations provide areas that do not impose costs like environmental degeneration, this practice protects the developed countries against the issues of environment and law. The transfer of production to Third World has helped the expansion of economy of these nations and also speed up the economy of the developed nations.

Garment industry is controlled by the transfer of production. The globalisation of garment production started earlier and has expanded more than that of any other factory. The companies have transferred their blue-collar production activities from high-wage areas to low-cost manufacturing regions in industrialising countries. The enhancement of communication system and networking has played a key role in this development. Export-oriented manufacturing has brought some good returns to the industrialising nations of Asia and Latin America since the 1960s. The first relocation of garment manufacturing took place from North America and Western Europe to Japan in the 1950s and the early 1960s. But during 1965 and 1983, Japan changed its attention to more lucrative products like cars, stereos and computers and therefore, 400,000 workers were dismissed by Japanese textile and clothing industry. In impact, the second stock transfer of garment manufacturing was from Japan to the Asian Tigers – South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore in 1970s. But the tendency of transfer of manufacturing did not remain there. The rise in labour charge and activeness of trade unions were in proportion to the enhancement in economies of the Asian Tigers. The industry witnessed a third transfer of manufacturing from 1980s to 1990s; from the Asian Tigers to other developing countries – Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China in particular. The 1990s have been led by the final group of exporters including Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan and Vietnam. But China was leader in the current of the relocation as in less than ten years (after 1980s) China emerged from nowhere to become the world’s major manufacturer and exporter of clothing.

Bangladesh Garment Sector and Global Chain
The cause of this transfer can be clarified by the salary structure in the garment industry, all over the world. Apparel labour charge per hour (wages and fringe benefits, US$) in USA is 10.12 but it is only 0.30 in Bangladesh. This difference accelerated the world apparel exports from $3 billion in 1965, with developing nations making up just 14 percent of the total, to $119 billion in 1991, with developing nations contributing 59 percent. In 1991 the number of workers in the ready-made garment industry of Bangladesh was 582,000 and it grew up to 1,404,000 in 1998. In USA, however, 1991-figure showed 1,106.0 thousand workers in the apparel sector and in 1998 it turned down to 765. 8 thousand.

The presented information reveals that the tendency of low labour charges is the key reason for the transfer of garment manufacturing in Bangladesh. The practice initiated in late 1970s when the Asian Tiger nations were in quest of tactics to avoid the export quotas of Western countries. The garment units of Bangladesh are mainly relying on the ‘tiger’ nations for raw materials. Mediators in Asian Tiger nations build an intermediary between the textile units in their home countries, where the spinning and weaving go on, and the Bangladeshi units where the cloth is cut, sewn, ironed and packed into cartons for export. The same representatives of tiger nations discover the market for Bangladesh in several nations of the North. Large retail trading companies placed in the United States and Western Europe give most orders for Bangladeshi garment products. Companies like Marks and Spencers (UK) and C&A (the Netherlands) control capital funds, in proportion to which the capital of Bangladeshi owners is patience. Shirts manufactured in Bangladesh are sold in developed nations for five to ten times their imported price.