Insights and Analysis

Keeping Bangladesh Competitive in the Garment and Textiles Industry

July 21, 2010

In late 2008, in the midst of the financial and economic crisis, factory owners in Bangladesh showed remarkable confidence in the future of their industry in Bangladesh. Government officials were also confident of the capacity of the private sector to adapt and remain competitive while workers themselves were confident of their capacity to deliver quality products at a competitive price. But, although Bangladesh has done well in the garment and textiles sector, if the country wants to expand even more and remain competitive, finds the first paper in The Asia Foundation’s new “Occasional Paper” series, it will need to make investments in human capital and technology, rather than just reduce input costs. Research for this paper included extensive interviews with factory workers and government officials, and seven focus-group discussions with 33 factory workers.

The paper offers policy recommendations to improve efficiency at the factory level, including providing improved benefits to workers and developing coalitions between the private sector and local and international NGOs, as well as factories, to establish industry standards. It also suggests reforms of the business environment that could provide an overall boost, not only to the garment industry, but to the economy as a whole. Download the paper.

Related locations: Bangladesh
Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth


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