Textiles and clothing in Asian graduating LDCs: Challenges and options

The textiles and clothing sector has been a key driver of export growth in Asian least-developed countries (LDCs) on the path to graduation from LDC status. This report examines the likely impacts of graduation on these LDCs.

Despite confronting multifaceted challenges, textile- and clothing-exporting LDCs in Asia – namely, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Nepal – have made remarkable socio-economic progress over the past decade and are at various stages of graduation from LDC status.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the textile and clothing sector hard, with exports in these LDCs remaining below pre-pandemic levels despite recovery in the global economy. These countries must also prepare for the challenge of ensuring a smooth transition from LDC status.

The report sheds light on possible strategies for these countries to maintain market access after graduation and to support economic diversification.

Co-published with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2022.

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