China keeps its position as a textile industry leader

Though the fast-paced recovery of global economy and increased domestic demand led to the strong growth in Chinese textile industry in the first half of 2018, the US-China relationship posed great challenges. As the latest statistics of the General Administration of Customs of China indicate, Chinese textile and apparel exports in the first half of this year amounted to USD 127.524 billion representing a year-on-year growth of only 3.24 %. Exports of textile yarns, fabrics and end products, in particular, amounted to USD 58.332 billion, a YOY growth of 10.28 %, while export of garments and accessories decreased 2.03 % YOY.

Rapid growth of domestic market

China’s domestic textile and apparel market continued to grow at a fast pace with both physical stores and e-commerce channels registering high level of sales. As the country’s National Bureau of Statistics indicate the sale of clothing, shoes, hats and knitting products from January to May 2018 increased 9.1 % over the same period last year. Meanwhile, e-commerce channels continued to maintain rapid growth. The sales of clothing on these channels from January to May increased 24.9 % YOY, representing a higher growth rate when compared with the same period in the previous year.

As per latest statistics from the Office of Textiles and Apparel US, China’s textile and apparel exports to the US totalled USD 38.74 billion in 2017, of which China keeps its position as a textile industry leader No. 1: apparel exports were USD 27.03 billion and textiles and finished product exports were USD 11.71 billion.

From July this year, the US imposed 25 % tariffs on Chinese products worth USD 36 billion. China took counter measures. Meanwhile, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) further announced 25 % tariffs on another list of Chinese imported products worth USD 16 billion on August 7, 2018. The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council of China responded by imposing an extra 25 % tariff on US imported products also worth USD 16 billion.

An extra 10 % tariff on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imported products was announced by the USTR recently. This list of over 5000 products includes textile related products, such as textile raw materials, yarns, fabrics, carpets, technical textiles, leather, etc. As per CNTAC, the value of annual exports to the US amounts to about USD 4 billion.

Shift in global supply chain

A recent survey by the US Fashion Industry Association indicates, nearly 70 % of fashion industry executives plan to restructure sourcing from China over the next two years. At the same time, China’s latest tariff imposition on US imports led to many Chinese textile enterprises and traders shifting their sourcing to other countries.

The foundation for the development of Chinese textile industry in 2018 remains strong. To achieve this growth, the industry needs to upgrade production technologies and product quality, grasp the opportunities of the Belt and Road Initiative and transform into the world’s true textile industry leader.