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The textile industry has played an important role in Bangladesh’s economy for a while. Currently, the textile industry in Bangladesh accounts for 45 percent of all industrial employment and contributes 5 percent to the total national income. The industry employs nearly 4 million people, mostly women.

A huge 78 percent of the country’s export earnings comes from textiles and apparel, according to the latest figures available. Bangladesh exports of apparel products are worth nearly $5 billion per year shipping towards the United States, European Union (EU), Canada and etc worldwide. It is the sixth largest apparel supplier to the United States and EU countries

The handloom industry provides employment for a large segment of the population of Bangladesh and supplies a large portion of the fabric required by the local market. Mahmud E. Alam, managing director, Famano Textile Mills Ltd., stated about 20 percent of existing mills in Bangladesh are large-scale mills, roughly 30 percent are medium-scale mills, and the remaining 50 percent are small-scale mills. Alam also stated the number of spinning mills in the country are increasing on a daily basis.

The textile quotas under the Multi-Fiber Arrangement of January 2005 have been moderate in Bangladesh and the industries are divided on their impact. While industry analysts state Garment and Textile manufacturers of Bangladesh will have to face steep competition from countries such as India, Pakistan, China and Thailand as a result of new policies, the textile companies see no impact on their businesses.

Alam feels the lifting of quotas is not going to affect the business. “The future of the textile industry here is very bright.Even the lifting of quotas is not going to affect the industry as was concerned,” he quoted. Mostafizur Rahman, managing director, Pawrob, shares a similar view regarding lifting quotas towards not having a major effect.

“Chinese companies have an edge of 30 days over Bangladeshi textile companies.”