WASHINGTON — Imports of Chinese apparel and textiles shot up 21.8 percent in May, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
For the month, Chinese apparel and textile imports rose to 1.8 billion square meter equivalents, valued at $2.4 billion, as shipments from the rest of the world fell 5.6 percent, to 2.7 billion SME. Much of China's momentum came from apparel shipments that swelled 42.1 percent, to 588 million SME. The country showed particular strength in dresses and nightwear made with man-made fiber and cotton. Women's and girls' cotton trousers, one of the 34 types of goods still restrained by quotas, also had a strong showing.
The Democratic Congress is looking to seize the trade agenda from President Bush and the Republicans. The total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services grew to $60 billion in May, compared with $58.7 billion in April. The goods deficit with China rose to $20 billion from $19.4 billion.
The commerce report came as the Bush administration took a step forward in its World Trade Organization case against Chinese government subsidies.
The U.S., along with Mexico, asked the WTO to set up a dispute settlement panel to address the subsidies, which the White House maintains are granted to Chinese companies that meet certain export goals or use domestic products over goods from other countries. Launched in February, the case has gone through two rounds of consultations between U.S., Mexican and Chinese officials, and could lead to retaliatory tariffs to offset the impact of the government supports.
"China has taken a positive step by repealing one of the subsidy programs we challenged, but much more needs to be done," a spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in a statement. "We continue to prefer a negotiated settlement to this dispute, but without assurance of complete corrective action by China, we must continue to pursue the WTO process to enforce our rights."
The WTO Dispute Settlement Body will consider the request for a panel at its meeting July 24.
One of the chief complaints of U.S. textile producers is that they cannot compete against myriad advantages given to factories in China, including subsidies and currency policies that restrain the value of the yuan.A Chinese trade diplomat, who requested anonymity, said in the two rounds of consultation in March and June, the U.S. and Mexico "just disregarded" the progress made in China's reforms, including scrapping the allocation of preferential loans to export enterprises.
Whatever the impact of subsidies, Chinese producers also enjoy other advantages, such as a large pool of cheap labor, ready access to raw materials and an infrastructure trained toward exporting on a grand scale. China has used these attributes to increase its share of U.S. apparel and textile imports to a commanding 37.8 percent in the 12 months ended May 31, up from 33.3 percent a year earlier.
Bangladesh also showed strength, with apparel and textile imports rising 16.7 percent from a year earlier to 135 million SME, led in part by increases in goods where China is restrained by quotas, such as cotton underwear, women's and girls' cotton trousers, and women's and girls' man-made fiber sweaters.
On the losing end was Pakistan, the number-two U.S. apparel and textile supplier, which saw its shipments drop 10.5 percent, with big decreases in combed and carded cotton yarns, and cotton poplin, broadcloth and twill fabrics.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast