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Apparel Imports From China Remain Stalled, as Overall Shipments Rise

Though the amount of apparel the U.S. took in from China was down in July, overall textile imports were up.

Overall U.S. imports of textiles and apparel increased 7.3% in July to 6.24 billion square meter equivalents (SME) compared to a year earlier, according to data from the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). In value, imports climbed 2.72% to $46.18 billion from a year earlier.

Year over year, imports of textiles from around the world grew 11.2% to 3.64 billion SME, while apparel exports were up 2.2% to 2.6 billion SME in July as retailers prepare to stock up for crucial fourth quarter selling.

Apparel imports from China were down 0.83% in value to $14.2 billion worth of goods in July, continuing a recent period of tepid or negative growth for the once-dominant supplier, although they bounced back a bit in volume,, increasing 2.4% to 1.17 billion square meter equivalents (SME). Volume-wise, China saw its combined shipments rise 8.5% to 3.22 billion SME.

Among the Top 10 suppliers of apparel to the U.S., Vietnam, Bangladesh and Cambodia were the big winners, with India and Pakistan also faring well, as importers spread out their sourcing in light of ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Cambodia’s shipments of apparel to the U.S. rose 15.45% to $1.37 billion worth of goods. Imports from Vietnam increased 6.41% to $6.94 billion and Bangladesh’s shipments were up 5.61% to $3.21 billion. Apparel imports from India rose 3.92% to $2.42 billion and shipments from Pakistan rose 6.85% to $781 million.

Indonesia had a tougher time, with apparel shipments to the U.S. dipping 3.7% to $2.61 billion. Honduras also saw a decline with apparel shipments sliding 1.5% to $1.41 billion, as did Mexico, with shipments dropping 2.38% to $1.99 billion. Imports from Mexico could get a boost soon, though, with the U.S. and Mexico reaching a tentative agreement on a trade deal emerging from the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. In volume, Mexico’s shipments were also up 1.07% to 74 million SME.

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The U.S. also took in more apparel imports from the Western Hemisphere, Africa and the Americas. Among countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, Guatemala’s shipments rose 14.8% to $126.92 million, Peru’s increased 50 percent to $73.28 million, Haiti’s were up 15.1% to $81.78 million, and the Dominican Republic’s rose 7.3% to $73.05 million.

Coming out of Africa, imports from Kenya gained 99.4% to $47.7 million, Egypt’s shipments advanced 11.1% to $80.5 million, Madagascar’s increased 59.4% to $20.82 million and Ethiopia’s were up 167 percent to $9.9 million.

The U.S. trade deficit—which has been President Trump’s biggest main point in trade—was $50.1 billion in July, up from $45.7 billion in June, the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported. U.S. exports of textiles of apparel increased 4.59% in the month to $13.59 billion, with apparel shipments rising 5.61% to $3.34 billion.