The pandemic rang in bad tidings for apparel exporters in Asia and South East Asia as the dip in US’ imports was significant. Compared to imports worth USD 111.033 billion in 2019, in 2020 imports worth USD 89.596 billion were registered. The trend took an upward turn in 2022 as The US Department of Commerce released figures for the first half of this year. The latest import figures indicate that US economy is witnessing fast recovery, and the world’s largest economy is continuing to support economic recovery in developing countries.
The import of textiles and apparel by the US continues grew at high rate and rose by 30.97 per cent to USD 66.308 billion in the first six months of 2022, compared to $50.626 billion in the same period of 2021. With 26.80 per cent share China continues to be the largest supplier of textiles and clothing to the US, followed by Vietnam with 13.87 per cent. According to the Major Shippers Report, “Apparel constituted the bulk of textiles and garments imported by the US in January-June 2022, and were valued at $49.578 billion, while non-apparel imports accounted for $16.729 billion.” In contrast, import of apparel to the EU experienced a dramatic drop of 80%.
Man-made fibres constituted the largest chunk at USD 33.4 billion, with cotton coming in second at 29.5 billion. Products from silk and vegetable fibres accounted for USD 1721.6 million whereas wool products stood at USD 1648.5 million.
China retains its pole position as the largest exporter to the US. The US textile and apparel imports volume from China in Jul 2022 reached 3.21 billion, down by 9% year-on-year. The imports value reached 3.59billion USD, up by 26.7% year-on-year. US apparel imports value from China in Jul 2022 toppled 1.27 billion USD, up by 22.7% year-on-year. The textile industry of China is the largest manufacturer and exporter in the world with an export turnover of USD 266.4 billion. Low-cost production, raw material quality, industrial structure, modern high-tech machinery, label development and work process in domestic consumer and global market contribute to China’s unshakeable leadership in this sector. The output volume of China textile industry accounts for more than half of the global market.
Other gainers have been Bangladesh up by 60.3%, Indonesia up by 60.27 %, India up by 57.2%, Cambodia up by 52.5% and Pakistan up by 50% year-on-year. The non-apparel sector also experienced a growth surge as Cambodia’s exports rose by 73%, Vietnam by 29% and Italy by 27.5%. Turkey was the only nation that lost ground up to 8%. However, with all figures released, the ASEAN countries collectively experienced the best in this growth surge whilst India and Bangladesh did not.
It should be noted that US apparel imports enjoyed a decent growth but started to face softening demand. Thanks to consumers’ spending, in the first half of 2022, US apparel imports went up 40% in value and 24% in quantity from a year ago. However, the US economy remains highly uncertain in the medium term and it might see many US fashion companies to turn more conservative in placing orders.