Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Retrospective: US Textile and Apparel Shipments Show Healthy Gains

Apparel and textile imports were up a little more than 15 percent, totaling $97.2 billion during the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period last year. Those imports have been in positive territory for the last two years after tumbling 13.5 percent in 2009.

China, which sent $40 billion in apparel and textiles to the United States from January through October, still accounts for 40 percent of all U.S. apparel and textiles imports, a rate that has held fairly steady over the years.

But Vietnam has made great strides as an apparel powerhouse, now ranking as the No. 2 supplier to the United States when it comes to clothing. Since joining the World Trade Organization in early 2007, Vietnam’s apparel industry has steadily grown to make apparel the country’s No. 1 export product. During the first 10 months of this year, that Southeast Asian country shipped $7.2 billion in apparel and textile goods to the United States, a nearly 18 percent jump over last year.

India has also been growing its apparel exports, now ranking as the No. 3 provider of apparel and textiles in the United States in terms of dollar value. It shipped nearly $5.9 billion in clothes to U.S. consumers during the first 10 months of this year, a nearly 12.4 percent gain from last year.

Other major apparel producers for the U.S. market were Indonesia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Honduras.

Just as imports were rising, so were U.S. apparel and textile exports as a weaker U.S. dollar helped sales. At the same time, U.S. manufacturers are busy going global and diversifying their markets to Europe, Asia and the Middle East to counter any weakness in the U.S. economy.

During the first 10 months of this year, exports were up nearly 15 percent to $18.9 billion, compared with $16.45 billion during the same period last year.—D.B.

View the original article here

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