The impact of COVID-19 on Bangladesh was so severe that export earnings touched a record low of $0.52 billion in April, says an Apparel Resources report. Of this, apparel exports contributed to $0.37 billion. The complete breakdown of supply chains and order cancellations by brands and retailers complicated things, forcing BGMEA to blacklist brands that failed to pay for their orders.
After many discussions and deliberations, these retailers have finally agreed to accept their cancelled orders. The gradual reopening of outlets from June has rekindled recovery hopes amongst brands. However, for full recovery brands would have to wait till January of February next year, says Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu, Former Vice President, BGMEA. And while manufacturers wait for a recovery, new issues are plaguing. Europe is experiencing resurgence in number of new coranovirus cases.
Europe’s latest lockdown to last long
As per the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, more than half of European countries have reported over 10 per cent surge infections in the past two weeks, stated Hans Kluge, Regional Director, World Health Organization Even countries like Czech Republic, that had remain unaffected by the first wave, are experiencing a rise in cases.
To control these, countries are introducing stricter regulations that are likely to remain in place for the entire winter. For example, the UK has announced new restrictions that could last six months. Spain has imposed partial lockdown in Madrid that allows only a maximum of six people allowed to meet in any setting. People are allowed to travel outside their home districts only for essential journeys.
Many countries are also opting for more localized approaches as nationwide lockdowns have crippling impacts on economies. They are not in favor of sweeping restrictions or protracted lockdowns like before as they have a significant impact on their exports, says Fazlul Hoque, Ex-President, BKMEA and Managing Director, Plummy Fashions
Though restrictions in the US were not as severe as in Europe, the election Joe Biden as new President might have a significant impact on apparel exports, says Wasim Zakariah, Managing Director, Posh Garments. Donald Trump’s election in 2016 had triggered the so-called ‘Trump trade’ policy uncertainty, which was not suitable for the development of trade and commerce.
Currently, many factors are affecting global apparel exports. The industry needs to collaborate more to address these issues.