Bangladesh: Cheap Clothes, Deadly Factories

Guest Host:

Marc Fisher
Bangladesh: Cheap Clothes, Deadly Factories

Two deadly accidents in Bangladeshi factories over the last five months have raised questions about the real cost of cheap clothes.

The South Asian nation of Bangladesh has risen rapidly within the global garment industry to become the world's second largest exporter of clothing. European and American companies have been attracted by some of the lowest wages in Asia. But two recent deadly accidents in Bangladeshi factories -- including a building collapse that killed more than 300 people -- have raised questions about the true cost of cheap clothes. Kojo explores the global clothing economy.

Guests

Pietra Rivoli

Deputy Dean and Professor of Finance and International Business, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; and Author, “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade” (Wiley)

Top 10 U.S. Textile Apparel Imports By Country (In Billions)

Country 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012
China 3.6 4.8 6.5 22.4 38.5 40.7 40.6
Vietnam 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.9 6.3 7.2 7.7
India 0.8 1.6 2.7 4.6 5.4 5.9 5.9
Indonesia 0.7 1.3 2.4 3.1 4.7 5.3 5.2
Mexico 0.7 3.0 9.7 7.3 4.5 4.8 4.6
Bangladesh 0.4 1.1 2.2 2.5 4.1 4.7 4.6
Pakistan 0.4 1.0 1.8 2.9 3.1 3.4 3.0
Honduras 0.1 0.9 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.6 2.6
Cambodia 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.7 2.2 2.6 2.6
El Salvador 0.1 0.6 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.9
Italy 1.0 1.5 2.1 2.1 1.4 1.6 1.7
Canada 0.5 1.7 3.4 2.8 1.4 1.5 1.4
Thailand 0.6 1.4 2.5 2.1 1.5 1.4 1.3
Philippines 1.1 1.7 2.3 1.9 1.1 1.3 1.2
South Korea 2.7 2.3 3.1 1.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Taiwan 3.0 2.8 2.8 1.6 0.9 0.9 0.9
Dominican Republic 0.7 1.8 2.5 1.9 0.6 0.7 0.7
Hong Kong 3.8 4.4 4.7 3.6 0.2 0.2 0.2

(Credit: Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce)

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