WASHINGTON — Apparel imports rose 3 percent in October from a year earlier to 2.2 billion square meter equivalents, largely because of increased shipments from China, Vietnam and Honduras.
The rise boosted total apparel and textile imports by 3.5 percent to 4.9 billion SME, the third highest month on record. The goods were valued at $9.1 billion and contributed to the politically sensitive trade deficit, a key issue at high-level talks in Xianghe, China.
China's apparel shipments shot up 13.6 percent for the month to 841 million SME, with particular strength in cotton nightwear and man-made fiber dresses, as well as quota-restrained cotton sweaters, according to a Commerce Department report Wednesday. Imports from Vietnam increased 49.1 percent to 126 million SME, and shipments from Honduras were up 18.9 percent to 114 million SME.
Since there is little domestic apparel production left, the imports account for part of the gap between what the U.S. buys from other countries and what it sells, which has narrowed some with increased exports spurred by a weaker dollar. The total deficit in goods and services through Oct. 31 shrunk by 8.3 percent to $587 billion.
But the goods deficit with China grew 12 percent for the first 10 months of the year to $213.5 billion, on track to set a new annual record with a single country. Critics in Congress and in the domestic industry are pushing for a tougher stance against China, which they say is capturing a dangerous percentage of the U.S. import market by restraining the value of its currency and unfairly subsidizing its producers.
"Both the Democratic leadership in Congress and the Bush administration's Treasury Department deserve grades of F this year for failing to act to stop the problem," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, which represents textile producers.
Last month, China agreed to drop several subsides that were the subject of a U.S. legal challenge in the World Trade Organization, though little progress has been made on the currency policies, which critics say undervalue the yuan by as much as 40 percent.
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, attending the meetings in China, emphasized increased U.S. exports as the solution for the deficit.
"The administration is committed to working with China to create a more open and balanced trading relationship, as well as ensuring the safety of imports crossing America's borders," Gutierrez said. "More trade and more competition are good for our economies and for the world."
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)