• Emerging Textile

U.S. Apparel Imports: Latest and Long-Term Trends


8 October 2019

US apparel imports from China have remained very strong in volume terms in August, ahead of the rise in US tariffs on Chinese products. US buyers have looked for lower prices in China, resulting in stagnating imports in value terms. Other origins have experienced the opposite trend. Our monthly review covers US apparel import data, with historical trends being analyzed over the 2000-2019 period, including cotton vs. man-made fiber apparel, and China vs. Vietnam and the Rest of the World (RoW). Import data are available per origin in the year-to-date, in volume, value, and unit value terms.

With the rise of US tariffs looming, August apparel imports from China have stayed very strong, however.

In volume terms, Chinese shipments to the United States have risen more than 5% from the same month a year earlier.

By contrast, imports from all other nations have declined 0.5%.

In value terms, however, imports from China have only risen 0.5%, whereas shipments from the rest of the world (RoW) were gaining 2.2%.

Ahead of additional tariffs, US buyers of Chinese apparel have actually reduced their requirements to get lower prices.

The average unit value of Chinese shipments has dropped by 4.3% in August, whereas unit prices of other products were rising by 2.7%.

As a result of this long-term trend, the market share of China has risen in volume terms in the first eight months of the year, while their share has dropped in US$ terms.

The rise in Vietnamese imports has only reached 1.6% in August, in volume terms, whereas shipments have been up 6.7% in dollar terms, experiencing their slowest pace since last December, however.

In value terms, Vietnam and Bangladesh have benefited from double-digit growth in the first eight months.

Honduras, Jordan, or Nicaragua have also made substantial gains, as buyers were interested in their duty-free access to the US market.


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