Non-Cotton Apparel Exports to Reach $19B by 2025

Non-Cotton Apparel Exports to Reach $19B by 2025

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A recent analysis by the Economic Relations Department (ERD) indicates that unlocking the nation export potential in non-cotton garments, encompassing synthetic and man-made fibers, could witness an impressive surge, reaching $19 billion by 2025 from the present $8.5 billion if prevailing challenges are effectively addressed.

Conducted in collaboration with the private think tank Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID), the study delves into global market dynamics and export prospects for 20 varieties of non-cotton apparel products.


Local entrepreneurs align with the ERDs identified potential, underscoring the need for a comprehensive fiber security strategy, unrestricted access to all fibers, the establishment of a dedicated low-cost investment fund, and heightened efficiency targeting investments in man-made fibers.

ERD research unveils that non-cotton apparel commanded 54 percent of the $505 billion global apparel market in 2021. In contrast, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data shows that 29 percent of the countrys $55.56 billion export revenue in the fiscal year 2022–23 was derived from non-cotton garments.

Experts note the accelerating demand for artificial fibers globally, surpassing that of cotton. Despite Bangladeshs current modest standing in this market, there exists an opportunity to leverage the countrys potential by confronting existing challenges.

To meet this objective, Bangladeshs spinning millers require streamlined access to raw materials, logistical support, and comprehensive financial and policy backing.

The study, titled Expanding Man-Made Fiber (MMF) Apparel Exports: A Strategy for Upscaling the Garment Sector, delineates critical challenges. These include the absence of duty-free raw materials, delays in custom clearances, intricate duty-drawback procedures, inadequate short-term financing support, insubstantial foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, and the absence of a fiber security strategy.

Additional hurdles encompass the slow adoption of modern technology, skill gaps in top and middle management roles, a scarcity of skilled manpower, limited research and development activities, and a lack of compliance and certification practices that hinder the realization of the untapped potential in this sector.

The study underscores the stark contrast in import duties, where cotton or cotton textiles enjoy duty-free status, while synthetic fiber raw materials face duties of up to 59 percent, albeit intended for reimbursement after export. The complexity and additional costs associated with this process, however, serve as deterrents for entrepreneurs.

Non-cotton garments span various categories, including waistcoats, T-shirts, wind jackets, brassieres, non-woven garments, trousers, synthetic garments, shirts, overcoats, tracksuits, full or knee-length hosiery and socks, and rubberized garments for women.