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Western Hemisphere Surge in Jeans Sourcing Continued in October

As we settle into the new year, our Sourcing Summit Companion Report looks ahead at ways to optimize processes and performance.

Western Hemisphere sourcing of denim apparel is outpacing overall strong U.S. jeans imports at the expense of Asian suppliers such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

Overall U.S. imports of blue denim apparel increased 28.07 percent in October compared to a year earlier to a value of $2.95 billion, while imports of the category from Western Hemisphere countries rose 40.35 percent to $693.21 million, according to new data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).

Imports from Mexico, the No. 2 jeans supplier to the U.S., posted a 43.27 percent year-over-year gain to a value of $535.77 million in the month.

Shipments processed at U.S. ports from the countries of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) rose 29.11 percent to $126.63 in October, led by a 30.53 percent increase to $103.54 million from Nicaragua and a 22.73 percent gain to $21.35 million from Guatemala, according to OTEXA. Columbia contributed to the Western Hemisphere surge with a 30.49 percent rise to $25.62 million.

Kim Glas, president and CEO of the NCTO, told Sourcing Journal this week that CAFTA and U.S. co-production for textiles and apparel supports more than 1 million jobs and $12 billion in two-way trade.

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She noted that onshoring and nearshoring are underway, with key CAFTA countries seeing exports up anywhere from 33 to 56 percent, outpacing even major Asian exporters, “a clear sign that the trade agreement’s existing rules are effective and continue to spur investment and manufacturing employment in the U.S. and the CAFTA-DR region.”

Among the struggling Asian production powerhouses, imports from Vietnam remained tepid with a 4.4 percent year-over-year gain in October to $32.65 million and Indonesia’s fell 10.96 percent to $28.69 million.

Top supplier Bangladesh rolled along with a 31.62 percent increase in the month to $615.95 million, while China saw a 17.55 percent gain to $325.24 million, Pakistan jumped 51.03 percent to $310.9 million, Cambodia rose 18.10 percent to $139.12 million and Sri Lanka was up 43.51 percent to $58.61 million.

Rounding out the Top 10, jeans imports from Turkey increased 61.43 percent to $56.50 million. Looking at second-tier suppliers, October increases were posted by Lesotho, Madagascar, India, Macau, Italy and Japan. Declines were seen from Jordan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.