U.S. textile business overview

U.S. Textile Business overview

An overview of the American textile business in 2010/11 shows that the U.S.A. is depending on imports and that the national textile industry is losing grounds and therefore is trying to protect itself by legislation and lobbying but specialist retailers are opposed to protectionism

The American 2010 textile and apparel imports amounted to a value of USD 93 billion (2009: USD 93 billion) and from January to August 2011 the value was already at USD67 billion (USD 60 billion) or +12%. The imports came from 80 different countries, but USD 74 billions in 2010 derived from eight countries and the preferred six countries under the U.S. Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement known as “Dr.-CAFTA”.

It is no secret that China was again in 2010 the foremost supplier with USD 38 billion (USD 32 billion) with a share of 41%. Dr.CAFTA partners delivered 2010 USD 7 billion and Vietnam USD 6 billion, the second largest contributor after China, then India and Indonesia supplied each USD 5 billion, Bangladesh and Mexico each USD 4 billion and Cambodia USD 2 billion, Pakistan accounted for USD 3 billion.

In 2011 up to August China shipped textiles and apparels in the amount of USD 26 billion (USD 24 billion) or + 8 % to America, the Dr. CAFTA countries were responsible for USD 5 billion (+16%). Actually imports from Vietnam are taxed in America but the TPP Trans-Pacific Partnership allows duty free entry from Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and New Zeeland. Australia, Peru and Singapore enjoy bilateral FTA Free Trade Agreements with America and the ninth round of negociations began on October 19 in Lima (Peru). In the ongoing year up to August Bangladesh exported textile and apparels with a value of USD 3 billion (+26 %) and Cambodia with USD 2 billion (+ 22%) to the USA and also Pakistan exported USD 2 billion (+15%). The goods of those three countries are subject of U.S. import duties. Mexico could increase its textile and clothing exports by eight percent.

Let’s now have a look at U.S. exports of textiles and clothing, they totalled USD 20 billion in 2010 (USD 17 billion) and the largest trading partners were Canada (apparel and accessories, textile floor coverings, felts, speciality yarns and home furnishings) and Mexico (coated fabrics, knit apparel and accessories, knit fabrics, yarn and woven fabrics of cotton, partly for the Mexican market and another part of further processed good for re-export to America) with each USD 4 billion and to the DR-CAFTA countries USD 3 billion (mostly yarn and fabric transformed into clothing and re-exported to the U.S.A.).

The production of American yarns amounted 2010 to 4826 (4336) million pounds and to 2703 (2690) million square yards for woven fabrics. Knit fabrics increased to 329 (263) million pounds and apparel production had a value of USD 4665 (4926) million.

Source: NAFTA blog / David Trumbull, NTA

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