For Bangladesh’s apparel sector 2014 was an eventful year. Around 400 small and medium-sized factories have been shut following a work order deficit, turning around 10,000 workers unemployed. After the Rana Plaza tragedy, work orders reduced drastically as international buyers pulled out. As a result, many small and medium-sized garment factories had to shut their operation.
Accord and Alliance, the two platforms of the EU and American buyers, completed their inspection at garment factory buildings. The two platforms were formed following the Rana Plaza collapse with a view to inspecting readymade garment units from where they sourced apparels. Alliance has inspected a total of 587 garment factories since 2013 while Accord has so far inspected 1,613 units.
The year 2014 was also remarkable for the apparel industry. The sector which shares a lion’s portion of the export earnings, around 80 per cent, experienced bitter export growth. In addition, the sector failed to meet the export target in the last half of the year 2014 set by the government. Exports of the woven sub-sector during the year showed a shortfall of 10.57 per cent over the target.
Garment exports to one of the major destinations – the US market -- were not as per expected during the year 2014.