Professor Chowdhury reminds us of a key aspect of the garment industry: outside forces.

The garment industry is the only area where Bangladesh could claim considerable success. Today garment export is the main source of foreign exchange earnings for the country after remittances. Its success was not necessarily influenced by government policy but essentially by outside forces. This industry had its origin in the 1970s when the investors of other South East Asian nations ventured to set up garment factories in Bangladesh to work around the export quotas imposed on their native countries by the United States. Later, Bangladeshi entrepreneurs rushed to establish their own companies, some with little or no experience. After a period of adjustments, the industry began to stabilize and started to grow, and has eventually earned the world’s respect.

Thus, the stabilization and growth of the garment industry in Bangladesh was achieved largely with the help and intervention of foreign investors who supplied expert technical support for its quality control and had an effective marketing plan. Additionally, the country enjoyed a favorable quota system from the United States for quite a while. But this situation is now changing as other least developing countries gain trade advantage for their manufactured garments from the United States.