As per a World Bank report, since Bangladesh lags behind Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia in competitiveness, a rise in Chinese apparel prices would offer more benefits to the Southeast Asian countries. The report said that a 10 per cent increase in Chinese apparel prices would raise the Southeast Asian countries’ export to the US by 37-51 per cent, while export of South Asian countries would grow by 13-25 per cent (depending on the country) due to barriers to importing manmade fiber and poor exporting logistics.
The report titled ‘Stitches to Riches? Apparel Employment, Trade and Economic Development in South Asia’ shows that the rank of Vietnam and Cambodia in terms of quality, lead time and social compliance are higher than the South Asian countries like Bangladesh and India. As per the report a 10 per cent increase in Chinese apparel prices in the US market would increase employment in Bangladesh by 4.22 per cent in the sector but for the EU market, apparel employment would drop by 0.74 percent for males and 0.77 percent for females.
Even though the wage structure in Bangladesh is the lowest, the worker’s productivity in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesian is higher than Bangladesh and India, the report said. The WB said Bangladesh has steadily increased its share of global apparel trade above the world average and greater than China, but lower than that of the Southeast Asian countries.