Garment exports plunge by 60pc

Kathmandu, June 6:

A continuous fall in the export of Nepali readymade garments to United States, which is the single largest market for Nepali garment exports, continued for yet another month, as the month of May saw a massive decline of 60 per cent in exports.

It is the fifth consecutive month this year that export of Nepali textile and apparel products lost ground. Garment exports to the US has been suffering from the very beginning of the year, witnessing a whopping decline of 54 per cent in January, 64 per cent in February, 47 per cent in March and three per cent in April.

The industry is in doldrums for the last couple of years, following the termination of quota regime under multi-fibre arrangement (MFA) in January 2005.

Exports had suffered a loss of 30 per cent in 2004 and rose to 41 per cent in 2005. However, it slowed down with a marginal

drop of six per cent in 2006. As the US alone absorbs more than 80 per cent of the total Nepali garment exports, the single market concentration is blamed for such a plummet.

Garment and apparel products valued at over $2.25 million were exported to the US on May 2007, whereas garment products worth over $5.60 million were exported last year, reveals figures provided by the Garment Association of Nepal (GAN), today.

Continuous fall in exports indicates a difficult time ahead for Nepali garment manufacturers and exporters, as markets have already been opened for all competitors without quota restrictions, an exporter told this daily.

He urged for enhancing the competitive strength of Nepali products to compete with big suppliers from India and China and other strong players like Bangladesh and Pakistan.

According to quantitative analysis, altogether 2152 kg of the commodity were exported during the month, whereas the figure for May 2006 stood at 11714.8 kg.

Besides building up competitive strength, diversification of markets and products has remained a major challenge.