More than $2.6 billion worth of orders in Bangladesh’s garment sector have been withdrawn and new cancellations are coming up, according to the country’s commerce minister.
Garments are a major source of export for the South Asian country as retail brands abroad source for apparel from Bangladeshi factories. But the coronavirus pandemic has led to many of those brands shutting down their stores, forcing them to cancel orders or delay shipments, CNBC reported.
More than 4,600 garment factories in Bangladesh make shirts, T-shirts, jackets, sweaters, and trousers; they are mostly shipped to Europe, the United States, and Canada, to be sold by local retailers in those countries.
Ready-made garments comprised 84.21% of Bangladesh’s total exports worth $40.5 billion in its 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to data posted on the website of trade body, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). More than 60% of the garments were shipped to the European Union.
According to CNBC, commerce minister Munshi told CNBC that other sectors in Bangladesh, such as leather, jute, and ceramics, are also being affected due to the global outbreak. He also implored buyers in Europe and the United States to support the country’s efforts to keep the garment sector from struggling during the pandemic.
The virus outbreak in Bangladesh so far has been relatively less severe, with 48 reported cases and 5 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, cases have risen to 530,000 and more than 24,000 people have died.