Globalization has had a profound impact on various sectors worldwide, and the clothing and garment industry of Bangladesh is no exception. The industry has experienced both positive and negative effects due to globalization, shaping its current state and future prospects.
The Advent of Globalization in Bangladesh
Globalization in Bangladesh broadly started with changing political plot in 1975. After the political plot, the government withdrew from his predecessors’ affinity with the Soviet bloc, developing closer relations with the United States, Western Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, and other Islamic nations. Bangladesh opened for the world, and the process of privatization started after 1975.
The Ready-Made Garments (RMG) industry in Bangladesh developed from outside pressure rather than emerging to meet local demands. The increasing wages in the clothing producing countries paved the way to establish the RMG industry in Bangladesh, as the countries started looking for low-wage situations of factories. The industry is the most prominent export-oriented industry of the country, which has achieved very significant growth during the last 25 years.
Positive Impacts of Globalization
Increasing Number of Garment Factories
Over the past twenty-seven years, the number of garment factories has grown from 384 to over 5600. The factory growth rate was 3.70% in the Fiscal year 2012-2013. It was also mentionable that the factory growth rate was never negative in the past. The major advantage of the RMG sector is its cheap labor force, which provides a competitive advantage over its competitors.
Increasing Trend in Employment
The growth rate of workers was 66.67% in FY 1984-85 and shows a positive trend continuously. It is also mentionable that 90% of the workers are female. This sector opened up employment opportunities for many more individuals through direct and indirect economic activities, which eventually helps the country’s social development, women empowerment, and poverty alleviation.
Increasing Export Earnings
The export is in upward trends, which indicates that the value of export is increasing day by day. Despite the concern and fear of negative impact on in the aftermath of quota removal, the whole scenario of the RMG sector in Bangladesh appears with positive trends.
The Origin and Growth of the RMG Industry
The RMG industry in Bangladesh was established due to external pressures rather than to meet local demands. The increasing wages in clothing-producing countries led to the establishment of the RMG industry in Bangladesh, as these countries started looking for low-wage factory situations. The industry has achieved significant growth over the last 25 years, with the number of garment factories increasing from 384 to over 5600.
The Impact of Globalization on Employment
In FY 1984-85, the total employment in the RMG industry was 0.12 million, which increased to 4 million in FY 2013-14. The growth rate of workers was 66.67% in FY 1984-85 and shows a positive trend continuously. It is also mentionable that 90% of the workers are female. This sector opened up employment opportunities for many more individuals through direct and indirect economic activities.
The Impact of Globalization on Export Earnings
The export earnings of the RMG industry are in an upward trend, indicating that the value of export is increasing day by day. Despite the concern and fear of negative impact in the aftermath of quota removal, the whole scenario of the RMG sector in Bangladesh appears with positive trends.
Challenges and Threats
Despite the positive impacts, the industry has faced several challenges and threats. The recent accidents, death, and maiming of thousands of workers, worker unrest, and instability have created a negative situation for the readymade garment sector in the global market. Such incidents have led to the cancellation of GSP facilities by the USA and the threat of the European Union to do the same, consumers’ movement to boycott Bangladeshi products, etc.
The Future of the RMG Industry
The RMG industry in Bangladesh has great potential to earn a significant amount of foreign currency. With the right strategies and policies, the industry can continue to grow and contribute to the country’s economy.
The Impact of Globalization on Women Empowerment
The RMG industry, which employs a majority of women, has contributed significantly to women empowerment in Bangladesh. By providing employment opportunities to women, the industry has helped to improve their socio-economic status and promote gender equality.
The Impact of Globalization on Social Development and Poverty Alleviation
The RMG industry has contributed to social development and poverty alleviation in Bangladesh. By creating employment opportunities and contributing to the country’s economy, the industry has played a significant role in reducing poverty and promoting social development.
In conclusion, globalization has had a significant impact on the clothing and garment industry in Bangladesh. While it has brought about positive changes such as an increase in the number of factories, employment, and export earnings, it has also presented challenges that the industry must address to maintain its competitive edge in the global market. The future of the industry will largely depend on how it navigates these challenges and leverages the opportunities presented by globalization.
You might also be interested in our article about the Evolution and Growth of Bangladesh’s Apparel Industry.