THE TOP 10 COUNTRIES THAT EXPORT APPAREL AND TEXTILES TO THE U.S., MEASURED IN SQUARE METERS EQUIVALENT.
This story first appeared in the December 26, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Year-to-date ending April 2002: 690 million April 2001: 792 million
Year-end change: -12.9% April 2002 Share: 13.7%
While Mexico can still boast about being the top foreign supplier of apparel to the U.S., apparel imports from Mexico declined 12 percent in the last year. Wool yarn declined 91 percent and cotton sateen fell 54 percent. The drop is blamed on quality and the decline of the peso.
People’s Republic of China
Year-to-date: 347 million April 2001: 273 million
Year-end change: 27% April 2002 Share: 6.6%
Taking advantage of quota removal under the Agreement on Textiles & Clothing’s integration process, China has been the dominant player in this year’s import surge. Printed cotton, which rose 114 percent, leads the way and silk for women’s blouses and sweaters is making strides.
Year-to-date: 293 million April 2001: 327 million
Year end change: -10.4% April 2002 Share: 6.2%
U.S. manufacturers such as Russell Corp. have shifted business to Honduras, but imports such as blouses, which plunged 64 percent, declined nonetheless. Cotton underwear, one of the country’s largest exports, fell 8 percent.
Year-to-date: 307 million APRIL 2001: 335 million
Year-end change: -8.3% APRIL 2002 Share: 6%
Bangladesh is seeking quota-elimination and duty-free treatment on textiles and apparel exports. In the past year orders declined for cotton coats, dresses and knit blouses. The country has used its apparel and textile industries as bargaining chips in return for aiding the war against terrorism.
Year-to-date: 234 million April 2001: 259 million
Year-end change: -9.6% April 2002 Share: 5.6%
With a labor struggle brewing on West Coast docks, manufacturers and retailers are formulating contingency plans in the event of a strike. Hong Kong stands to lose if companies shift their business to other countries. Orders for wool coats and dresses fell 51 percent and 61 percent this year, respectively.
Year-to-date: 214 million April 2001: 225 million
Year-end change: -4.9% April 2002 Share: 4.7%
U.S. apparel importer and retail trade associations urged President Bush to finalize a U.S.-Central American trade pact. The Dominican Republic, where orders for cotton skirts fell 64 percent, was not on Bush’s stops during a March swing of the region, but groups lobbied for its inclusion.
Year-to-date: 232 million April 2001: 224 million
Year-end change: 3.6% April 2002 Share: 4.6%
El Salvador, a leading supplier of imported apparel to the U.S., saw its business for wool knit blouses evaporate over the last year. However, cotton apparel production as a whole increased 266 percent. The country hopes to secure a free-trade pact with the U.S. by 2003.
Year-to-date: 165 million April 2002: 163 million
Year-end change: 1.2% April 2002 Share: 4%
U.S. firms are looking at sourcing alternatives in the wake of escalating tensions between nuclear foes Pakistan and India. South Korea, one of the countries that contributed to double-digit import growth in April, could benefit. Cotton or man-made non-woven fabric rose a whopping 899 percent last year.
Year-to-date: 154 million April 2001: 163 million
Year-end change: -5.5% April 2002 Share: 3.8%
Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization in December in anticipation of 2005, when quotas will be lifted among members. Countries with a developed apparel infrastructure, but underdeveloped textile industry, like Taiwan, where production of women’s wool sweaters fell 91 percent, could be hurt.
Year-to-date: 192 million April 2001: 199 million
Year-end change: -3.5% April 2002 Share: 3.7%
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick was in Indonesia in April and developed a plan for an “integrated sourcing initiative” with the country by extending the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. So far, shipments of specialty yarns declined 75 percent and sateen fabric fell 79 percent in Indonesia last year.
Sources: WWD and the Office of Textiles and Apparel