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New Age | RMG industry must tackle 3 challenges to sustain in competitive market

The sustainable development of the readymade garments industry in Bangladesh is facing three urgent challenges, according to speakers at a recent round table discussion. These challenges include the need for decarbonisation, transitioning from the list of least developed countries, and dealing with the impact of automation technology in the fourth industrial revolution.

Decarbonisation involves reducing carbon emissions in the RMG value chain, while automation and artificial intelligence threaten jobs in the industry. It is crucial to reskill and upskill workers to prevent job displacement.

During a presentation at the roundtable discussion titled ‘Bunon 2030: Policy discussion,’ speakers emphasized the importance of diversifying the export basket in light of free trade agreements. They suggested adopting a product-based business model and investing in sector-specific initiatives to move away from the dependence on the RMG sector.

Policymakers were urged to engage with stakeholders to create effective export-oriented policies tailored to the needs of the apparel sector in Bangladesh. Successful models from other countries, like India’s Product Linked Incentive scheme, could be emulated to support and incentivize the Bangladeshi apparel export market.

To facilitate diversification in fibre production, duty-free access on importing raw materials for the production of Man-made fibres was suggested. The event was co-organized by LightCastle Partners and Policy Exchange Bangladesh, with discussions moderated by industry experts.

As Bangladesh prepares to transition from the list of LDCs in 2026, there are concerns about potential crises arising from the loss of trade benefits and rising wages. Despite being the second-largest exporter of ready-made garments globally, the industry faces challenges that could impact the economy if not addressed promptly.

The event highlighted the need for proactive measures to address these challenges and ensure the continued growth of the RMG industry in Bangladesh.

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