GENEVA — The textiles and apparel sector in the Dominican Republic has recorded a sharp contraction in exports in the post-quota era, mainly because of losing sales in the U.S. — its biggest market — to more competitive suppliers from China and other Asian nations, a World Trade Organization report said.
The sector, dominated by apparel production and located in the Dominican Republic’s 53 free trade zones, has “found it difficult to adjust to a more competitive global environment,” the study said.
Based on feedback from Dominican authorities, the WTO said “the end of quotas has led to a cutback in employment in free zones where some 60,000 jobs were lost between 2005 and 2007.”
During the era of quota restraints that ended in 2005, the country’s industry benefited from duty free and quota free access to the U.S. market as a participant in the Caribbean Basin Initiative program.
“For many years, our relationship with the Dominican Republic was driven by unilateral trade preferences that the U.S. provides through the CBI trade preferences program,” said David Shark, deputy chief of the U.S. mission to the WTO, said during a session reviewing the country’s trade regime. “The Dominican Republic is our largest trading partner in the Caribbean Basin region, with $10.3 billion in two-way trade in goods in 2007.”
The sector secured similar market access benefits more recently under as part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Between 2001 and 2006, labor productivity in the apparel and textile sector increased at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent.
WTO trade analysts said the island nation’s apparel sector has lost ground primarily to more price competitive exporters from China, and more recently from Vietnam and Cambodia. In 2007, the country’s exports of apparel to the U.S. declined 32 percent to $1.08 billion after a contraction of 16 percent in 2006, according to WTO trade statistics. Last year, the U.S. was the destination for almost 77 percent share of its apparel exports valued at $1.3 billion.
The Dominican Republic’s ambassador to the WTO, Luis Manuel Piantini, said since 2005, there has been a 36 percent decline in the value of apparel exports.
The WTO report noted that in 2006, apparel and accessories accounted for a 24.8 percent share of the country’s merchandise exports valued at $6.7 billion, down from 32.7 percent share in 2004 and 40.3 percent in 2002. The U.S. was the destination for almost 63 percent of the country’s goods exports.
The report said that the share of singlets, briefs, pajamas, bathrobes and dressing gowns in the Dominican Republic’s goods exports dropped to 5.6 percent in 2006, down from 9.3 percent in 2005 and 10.7 percent in 2002. Men’s and boys’ trousers, bib and brace overalls, and breeches and shorts share of merchandise exports stood at 5.3 percent in 2006, down from 10.4 percent in 2004 and 13.4 percent in 2002.
Contrary to the problems faced by the apparel sector, Piantini said the economy, which underwent reforms between 2005 and 2007, grew on average by 9.8 percent, Despite the global downturn, the economy in the first nine months of this year grew 5.4 percent.
The WTO study said that in contrast to the difficulties faced by apparel, some other sectors, such as jewelry, medical products and electronics, have notched dynamic performances. In 2007, textiles and apparel accounted for 30 percent share of free zones’ exports valued at $4.5 billion, or about 63 percent of export value. This represents a decline from 37.1 percent share in 2006, 40.1 percent in 2005 and 45.3 percent share in 2004, and a high 51.6 percent in 2001.
In 2006, textiles and apparel accounted for 54 percent of employment in the free zones. Senior Dominican Republic trade officials said the government has introduced a $30 million program to modernize the apparel sector. It has also ushered in a new law, under which apparel companies based outside the free zones are entitled to the same benefits, the same officials said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty