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History of Garments Industry in Bangladesh

The History of Garments Industry in Bangladesh

A proverb says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Likewise, the development of garments industry in Bangladesh has not been made overnight. There is a long story and hard work behind the achievement. Today, we will share the short history of garments industry in Bangladesh. Here you will get an overview of the Bangladesh garments industry, which may give you very important information about the past of Bangladesh garments industry and its present condition. So, let’s start and see how the Bangladesh Garments industry started the journey and where it has reached today.

A Short Overview of the History of Garments Industry in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry serves as an effective catalyst for the country’s growth. Bangladesh has also become a prestigious brand owing to its “Made in Bangladesh” tag. Cynics once called Bangladesh a “bottomless basket,” but it’s now “a basket full of wonder.” Despite its limited resources, Bangladesh has managed to keep its GDP growing at 6% annually and has made impressive social and economic progress. There are many established buying houses in Bangladesh contributing to this industry.

Early History of Garments Industry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in the world after gaining independence in 1971. This country had not developed much industry when it was East Pakistan because of the discriminatory policies of the East Pakistani government at the time. So, it was tough to rebuild the war-ravaged country with limited resources. Readymade garments (RMG) have played a crucial role in rebuilding the country and bringing the economy back into shape. Now they are Bangladesh’s biggest revenue earner. And, now this sector gets about 83% of total export earnings in Bangladesh. When the only primary export earner (Jute) in this country began declining, the RMG industry was able to replace it and eventually overtake it.

After starting in the 1980s, Bangladesh’s apparel industry today occupies a significant position. The late Nurool Quader Khan founded Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry. His vision was to transform Bangladesh into one of the world’s leading textile countries. He sent 130 trainees to South Korea in 1978, so they could learn how to make readymade clothes. Later on, he started exporting garments by setting up the first factory named Desh Garments with these trainees and Md Humayun of Paris Garments, Akhter Mohammad Musa of Bond Garments, Mohammad Reazuddin of Reaz Garments, Major (Retired) Abdul Mannan of Sunman Group, M Shamsur Rahman of Stylecraft Limited, Engineer Mohammad Fazlul Azim of Azim Group, and AM Subid Ali of Aristocrat Limited, Aristocrat Limited established some of the first garment factories in Bangladesh as well.

Eventually, several other diligent and hardworking entrepreneurs followed them in starting RMG factories in the country. From that moment, Bangladesh’s garment industry did not look back. Although the sector has faced many challenges over the past few years, it has carved a niche in the world market and continues to perform strongly. From the beginning, different sources of impetus have contributed to the growth and maturity of the industry at various stages. In 1994, we learned about child labor, and in 1995, we made the industry child-free.

With the MFA quota, our industry grew, developed, and matured. When the quota was about to expire in 2004, many people believed we would face significant disruption in our RMG exports. But a different success story emerged after the MFA quota. We proved all the predictions wrong by overcoming the challenges following MFA. Currently, Bangladesh’s apparel industry is Bangladesh’s biggest export earner in the world, with exports worth over $27.9 billion in 2019-20. And we are breaking the history of garments industry in Bangladesh every year.

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