Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), US apparel imports and exports would only increase slightly which must be approved by Congress. The US International Trade Commission recently published an independent study of the free-trade accord and found that US apparel imports would inch up 1.4 per cent with a $1.9 billion increase by the year 2032 while exports would barely budge, seeing a 0.3 per cent rise, or a $10 million increase. The US textile industry would see modest gains too.
By 2032, TPP would help US textile imports see a 1.6 per cent increase by $869 million while US textile exports would edge up 1.3 per cent, or $257 million. The study showed that Vietnam, one of the TPP member countries, would benefit the most from the free-trade pact when it comes to manufacturing and exporting apparel to the United States because tariffs will be eliminated on many items produced there using regional yarns and fabric, a requirement for duty-free status. In 2015, US duties on apparel coming from Vietnam totaled $10.5 billion and the average tariff was set at 17 per cent.
Vietnam is the No. 2 provider of clothing to the United States, accounting for 10 per cent of all US apparel and textile imports. China is still No. 1 with shipments making up 38 per cent of all apparel and textiles imported into the United States.