Garment exports to US plummet

Kathmandu, April 15:

The exports of the Nepali readymade garments (RMG) to the US, which is the single largest market, witnessed a whopping drop of 66 per cent in terms of value during March.

It is the second straight month this year that the exports of the Nepali textile and apparel products have lost its beat. The RMG exports to the US has been suffering for the last couple of years but had slightly recovered in January with exports up by a mere two per cent. The exports had suffered a loss of 30 per cent in 2004, 41 per cent in 2005, six per cent in 2006 and 48 per cent in 2007. As the US alone absorbs more than 80 per cent of the total exports, the single country concentration is blamed to be one of the major reasons for such a huge and continuous plummet.

The industry is already in doldrums for the last couple of years with the crisis deepening further following a complete phase out of quota regime under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing from January 1, 2005. During the peak time, total number of industries had crossed 1,200 but today over 95 per cent of them have already shutdown bringing down the figure to only 40 units.

The RMG products valued over $998,820.70 were exported to the US in March, whereas the garment products worth over $2.89 million were exported in the corresponding month last year, reveals the figures provided by the Garment Association of Nepal.

The continuous fall in exports indicates that the Nepali readymade garment industry is gradually on the verge of a ‘collapse’, as the global markets have already been opened for all the competitors without quota restrictions. An industry insider stressed the need of enhancing competitive strength in terms of price and quality of the Nepali products to compete with big suppliers from India and China and other fervent players like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.