By  on November 14, 2007

GENEVA — Asia's emerging economies, led by powerhouse China and strong players India and Indonesia, posted solid gains in textiles and apparel exports last year, a World Trade Organization report said. South Korea, Canada and Mexico continued to decline.

The WTO's "International Trade Statistics, 2007" study showed overall global apparel exports increased 12 percent to $311 billion, but textile exports lagged with an increase of 7 percent to $219 billion.

China expanded its share of global exports in textiles and apparel. The report said despite quotas imposed by the European Union and the U.S. between 2000 and 2006, "China has gained an additional 12 percent" of the world's apparel market and accounts for 31 percent of global exports, compared with an 8.9 percent share in 1990.

China was the largest exporter of apparel, with shipments increasing 29 percent to $95.4 billion, followed by Hong Kong, up 4 percent to $28.4 billion — Hong Kong re-exports increased 8 percent to $21.7 billion but domestic apparel exports fell 7 percent to $6.7 billion. EU shipments grew 9 percent to $21.9 billion.

Among other major exporting countries, Turkey's exports were flat at $11.9 billion, India notched an 11 percent gain to $10.2 billion, Indonesia posted a 15 percent increase to $5.7 billion, Pakistan grew 8 percent to $3.9 billion and Morocco was up 14 percent to $ 3.7 billion.

Mexico's apparel exports dropped 13 percent to $6.3 billion and Romania dipped by 4 percent to $4.4 billion.

As for imports, the U.S. took in 4 percent more apparel to $83 billion, EU imports rose 12 percent to $79.6 billion, Canada, up 14 percent to $6.8 billion and Japan expanded 6 percent to $18.9 billion. Big increases in imports were also reported by Turkey, up 203 percent to $2.4 billion, South Korea, up 29 percent to $3.7 billion and shipments to Russia increased 2 percent to $8.1 billion.

The study said China delivered another stellar performance in textiles, with export shipments worth $48.6 billion, up 19 percent versus the previous year, helping to cement its status as the world's top exporter.

Between 2000 and 2006, China "more than doubled" its global share of textile exports to 22.3 percent from 10.2 percent. Far behind China was the EU, with exports up 4 percent to $24.6 billion, followed by Hong Kong with a 1 percent gain to $13.9 billion led by re-exports and the U.S. with an increase of 2 percent to $12.6 billion.Other prominent exporters that achieved gains included India, 10 percent to $9.3 billion; Turkey, 7 percent to $7.5 billion, and Pakistan, 5 percent to $7.4 billion.

However, South Korea, which has lost a large share of its export market, continued a downward trend with a 3 percent decline in exports to $10.1 billion. Similarly, Canadian exports continued to decline, dropping 4 percent to $2.3 billion.

In textile imports, the value of EU shipments received rose 11 percent to $23.8 billion, U.S. imports edged up 4 percent to $23.5 billion, Russia surged 26 percent to $3.6 billion, China advanced 6 percent to $16.3 billion and Canada inched ahead 1 percent to $4.3 billion.

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