But let’s take a broader look about the industry in Bangladesh. Since 1971 the ready-made garment (RMG) sector has been instrumental in the development of the Bangladesh economy, where around 20 million people have been lifted out of poverty in just the last 2 decades. Annual growth in the apparel sector is predicted by the World Bank at around 8-9%, and the total garment export trade for Bangladesh has been estimated this year to be worth around 25 billion USD. That’s around 2,2 billion tonnes of materials going through garment production yearly.

The sector provides employment for approximately 4 million people, most of whom are urbanising women, working in an estimated 5000+ factory units.

Bangladesh is now second only to China on the world export stage for garments, having 81% of the economy based on garment exports. Many factors have been instrumental in the success of this rapid growth in the RMG sector, including crucial government policy and regulations. There is a vast, skilled labour force and people in the poorest rural areas have flocked into urban spaces for work opportunities.

The government supports the textile and garment trades with special export processing zones (EPZ), 8 designated areas where goods can be imported, manufactured and reshipped with a reduction in duties and minimal intervention by custom officials. These are designed to make business easy, and to help attract foreign investors.

Other business friendly policy includes low duty on new equipment and machinery upgrades, financial incentive for use of local inputs and the creation of clothing and textile villages. Factors outside of Bangladesh include GSP (trade privileges) in Europe and the rising business opportunity of the Russian market, which is diversifying from China and Turkey to Bangladesh in search of value labour costs.