Bangladesh's apparel export will cross the $100-billion target by 2030, considering the potentials of the markets in Europe, the UK, and the USA amid declining share of Chinese garments, experts have said.

The global apparel market size will be around $1135 billion in 2030. During this period Bangladeshi apparel exporters expect to get at least 10 per cent or $100 billion of the global market share.

The current global apparel market volume is around $560 billion, where Bangladesh's export share was $43 billion in FY 2021-22, up by 36 per cent year-on-year (July to June).

The apparel export saw a good start in FY 2022-23 with July-August earnings reaching $7.11 billion, posting 26 per cent growth compared to the same period of last fiscal year, said Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

International trade expert Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque told UNB that Europe and the USA are the potentially growing markets for Bangladesh's apparel products.

Bangladesh has an additional export potential of $20 billion in the EU and the UK, he said adding that currently the country can utilise less than 60 per cent of its export potentials to these markets.

Razzaque, who is also chairman of RAPID, a think tank, quoted a recent report in this regard.

In order to reach $100 billion target the country has to achieve an annual export growth of 11.45 per cent.

As Chines apparel export share is declining in the western market due to rising tension between the West and China, Bangladeshi exporters are likely to take advantage of the situation to boost their products, he opined.

China is moving away from low-value-added apparel to more sophisticated items, this can be an advantage for Bangladeshi apparel exporters, he said.

The EU apparel market size is $200 billion while the US market is $90 billion to $100 billion. The Chinese market is around $11 billion while the Indian market is 1.1 billion, so Bangladesh has to expand its export share in the EU and US markets by 12 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, Razzaque suggested.

In 2030, Bangladesh's export share in the EU market would have been $65 billion and $24 billion in the US market, which is achievable considering the resilience of the country despite Covid-19 pandemic.

In the post-Covid-19 pandemic period apparel export volume of the country is showing upward trends due to the resilience of the country's people, said Md Jillur Rahman, assistant professor of Economics at Jagannath University.

He said Bangladesh's apparel export to the EU market grew by 59.5 per cent in the January to June period of 2022.

It shows the prospects of growing apparel export to the EU market, he said.

Dr Razzaque, however, cautioned that achieving $100 billion export target will not be cake walk. Logistic facility, port handling capacity and skilled labour, environment and labour rights will be burning issues.

Bangladesh must focus on AI-developed equipment skilled labor and labor wage satisfaction to face the challenges in the coming years.

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