Bangladesh, Singapore to discuss FTA; apparel trade below 2019 levels

Bangladesh and Singapore are looking to boost their bilateral trade and investment through a free trade agreement (FTA), which they aim to sign this year. Bangladesh was the fifth largest apparel supplier for Singapore, however, the inbound shipment has not recovered yet after COVID disruption in 2020. FTA may boost the trade opportunity for both countries.

Singapore and Bangladesh will begin negotiations very soon. Singapore’s officials will visit Bangladesh to sign a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) in this connection, as per media reports.

Currently, the principal import products from Bangladesh to Singapore are knitwear, woven garments, home textile, agricultural products, and engineering products.

According to Fibre2Fashion’s amrket insight tool TexPro, Singapore imported apparel worth $127.338 million in 2021 from Bangladesh which was slightly higher than the inbound shipment of $122.098 million in 2020. Before the pandemic, the country had imported apparel worth $196.576 million in 2019, $234.921 million in 2018 and $223.005 million in 2017.

The inbound shipment of current year is not likely to touch pre-COVID level either. Its apparel imports from Bangladesh amounted to $116.272 million in the first nine months of this year. Monthly imports stood at $9.720 million in September, $23.109 million in August, $10.861 million in July and $11.5000 million in June 2022.

Overall, Singapore imported apparel worth $1727.052 million in January-September 2022, and Bangladesh claimed the fifth spot with a share of 6.73 per cent, as per TexPro.