WASHINGTON — Apparel and textile imports set some records in September and in the third quarter, as China drove the numbers sky-high.
The world’s most populated country was again the main factor in an overall 30.8 percent year-over-year increase in textile and apparel imports for the month, as well as a 25.8 percent increase in the quarter, the Commerce Department’s trade figures revealed Tuesday.
Overall, textile and apparel imports mushroomed to 3.51 billion square meters equivalent in September from 2.69 billion in September 2001. Textile imports rose 42 percent to 1.84 billion SME in September against a year ago, while apparel imports increased 20.3 percent to 1.67 billion SME against September 2001.
The 25.8 percent increase in the third quarter was the largest increase since 1995, according to Donald Foote, director of the agreements division for Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel. For the quarter, textile imports rose 37.4 percent while apparel imports increased 15 percent.
Foote said all of the apparel growth in the first nine months of the year occurred in the last three months. China accounted for 30 percent of the apparel growth, while Vietnam had 15 percent of the gain.
In related news, the U.S. has requested consultations with Vietnam to begin negotiations on a bilateral textile agreement in the first week of December, but has not yet had a response, according to Foote.
"After declining in the first quarter and contributing virtually nothing to the second quarter’s uptick, apparel imports accounted for 30 percent of the third quarter’s climb," Foote said.
Apparel import growth was driven by cotton apparel items, underwear, knit shirts and blouses, women’s trousers and hosiery.
China, not surprisingly, continued to dominate textile and apparel growth. Its imports grew 163 percent in September against a year ago and rose 143 percent in the third quarter.
"I have never seen this kind of increase from a major supplier any time in history," Foote said. "It is unprecedented."
China accounted for 47 percent of the growth in textile imports in the third quarter, while eight other countries, including South Korea and Pakistan, covered 44 percent of the period’s import growth.Charles Bremer, vice president of international trade at the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, wrote yet another letter to the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements on Tuesday reiterating the need to reimpose quotas on five categories. The ATMI recently asked Commerce officials for import quotas on Chinese bras, knit fabric, gloves, nightwear and luggage, all of which had quotas either wholly or partially removed Jan. 1 as part of the global quota phaseout. CITA is still reviewing the request, which was filed under a special deal China made to secure its World Trade Organization membership.
"China has the ability to dominate world trade in these products," Bremer said. "They are eating everybody’s lunch."
He claimed imports of knit fabrics from China are undercutting the benefits of the Caribbean preferential trade program, a chief concern of U.S. officials.
"It is cheaper to bring Chinese fabric here, cut it here, send it to the Caribbean for assembly and pay the 20 percent tariff, which undercuts the whole Caribbean preferential program [with the U.S.]," Bremer said.
Stephen Lamar, senior vice president for the American Apparel & Footwear Association, claimed the numbers "don’t bolster" the argument for invoking the safeguard against China. "We are seeing China take away production from other Asian countries," as opposed to domestic producers, contended Lamar.
He noted that China isn’t the only success story. Countries such as Vietnam, El Salvador, Pakistan, India, South Korea and Russia also grew during the first nine months of the year.
Countries involved in the U.S. preference programs also increased their exports in the first nine months, according to Lamar. He pointed to the Caribbean region, Jordan and sub-Saharan Africa, which all posted increases in apparel and textile imports, although at a much smaller growth rate than China’s surge.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)