Less EU textile and clothing imports from China in favour of South Asian Countries

Less EU textile and clothing imports from China in favour of South Asian Countries

Euratex, the European umbrella organisation for clothing and textiles, Brussels (B) is giving an overview of the commercially available EuratexEuratex Bulletin Cover Bulletin No. 2/2016, which includes, under part A, an analysis of EU external trade in 2015- global sector as well as main EU suppliers and customers. It also evaluates the weight of regions and sectors in total EU trade. Part B gives a special report with detailed tables and graphs for each of the 33 main EU trade partners

The main country groupings included in this study were: ACP, EFTA, NAFTA: USA, Canada, Mexico. ASEAN: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. AUTONOMOUS: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldavia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine. MEDITERRANEAN: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey. MERCOSUR: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay,  Venezuela.  Emerging Asian Countries:(South Korea, Hong-Kong, Taiwan). SAARC: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

Erosion of China’s share in EU imports, especially in lower-end products

The leading position of China has continued to be eroded by the increasingly vigorous entry of the other production zones. Whereas in 2010, its market share of EU textiles and clothing imports stood at 40.8 %, this had fallen to 35 % by 2015. The tendency for China seemed to be more and more textile exports whose production was facilitated by more sophisticated and productive machinery, at the expense of garments which are much more labour intensive.

The Mediterranean countries, which have long enjoyed the advantage of their proximity to the EU-28, have experienced the same scenario as China. Although this area was still a major supplier, its share had contracted from more than 20 % in 2009 to 18 % in 2015.

Undeniably, the main beneficiary was the SAARC zone which has gone in the opposite direction to China since 2010. From 19 % in 2010, its market share of textiles and clothing imports in 2015 was 24.6%.

The ASEAN zone, which is smaller than the SAARC area, showed enough drive and economic dynamism to grow its share of textile and clothing imports from over 6 % in 2010 to 8.6 % in 2015.

In 2015, these four zones accounted for 86 % of total extra-EU textile and clothing imports. EU-28 imports originating from these groupings primarily related to clothing goods. Clothing products represented 80 % of total imports, a +10.5 % gain in value terms.

Looking to products, China prevailed as the main supplier of woven garments’ imports. However, its share continued to decline at 37.6 % to the benefit of South Asian countries whose shares rose. The Mediterranean countries, as the traditional suppliers of the EU-28 in this segment, lost more ground, ending up with a 16.5 % share.

The situation differed little for imports of knitted garments. As the main supplier to this market with a 34 % share, China was faced with the intense vigour of its direct competitors in the SAARC and especially the ASEAN areas. The Mediterranean countries continued to be an important supplier group, yet similar to China they suffered from the Asian dynamism with a 17.5 % share.

Demand for EU clothing goods weakened strongly in Russia and Ukraine during 2015

EURATEX 1EU exports somewhat struggled to make gains regardless of a few definite trading advantages, and this against a difficult global economic situation. In 2015, 57.5 % of extra-EU exports went to four main defined groups: the Mediterranean countries with 13.7 %, the group of autonomous* countries with 11.8%, the EFTA group of countries with 14.2% and the NAFTA* group with 17.8 %. These four groups accounted for 59 % of extra-EU textile and clothing exports in 2014. This decline was for the most part linked to those exports to the autonomous group, in particular due to the embargo on exports to Russia which caused a collapse.

Woven fabrics were the major textiles exported by the EU. These represented 24.4 % of total textile and clothing exports. The NAFTA zone and the Mediterranean countries are the biggest purchasers of textile goods (yarns, fabrics, knitted fabrics and special textiles).

Regarding clothing, woven and knitted articles represented respectively 32 % and 17 % of total EU textile and clothing exports. These are of particular interest to developed countries. EFTA and NAFTA areas make up the two main buyers, both for woven items with 17 % and 18.5 % respectively and for knitted items, with 21 % and 15.5 %. These market shares of clothing purchases were up sharply for the NAFTA area. For the zone of emerging countries in Asia, demand was steady with a total share of purchasing of made up garments of 24.8 %. The group of autonomous countries were in decline because of the fall in exports to Russia.

CITH – the Textile and Clothing Information Centre was used extensively for the drafting of this publication. It provides statistical information on trade in textile and clothing since 1981. The basic data are collected by Eurostat and subsequently processed by the CITH in order to present the European import and export data in detail by partner country and by product, in accordance with the groupings used by Euratex. CITH can deliver tailor-made reports on customers’ request, which can be updated on a regular basis, or adapted to a specific format.

EURATEX – the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, is representing the interests of the industry at the level of the EU institutions. As the voice of the European industry, EURATEX aims to create a favourable environment within the European Union for manufacturing of textile and clothing productsBulletin No. 2/2016 can be ordered here



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