U.S. apparel import growth accelerated in August, according to data just released by OTEXA, the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel, bringing the year-to-date total to $56.6 billion (MFA), 5 percent higher than the year-ago period. On a square meter equivalent (SME) basis, imports rose by 7 percent.
Vietnam, India and Bangladesh continued to benefit most, growing their imports at faster-than-average rates so far this year.
China made up some lost ground in August, however. Apparel imports from China rose by 15.7% in the month on a dollar basis and 19.5% on an SME basis, resulting in a year-to-date increase of 4.7% in dollars and 8.3% in SMEs. So far this year, China’s share of the dollar value of U.S. apparel imports has dropped by only 0.1% compared to last year, to 35 percent, preserving its position as the largest apparel trading partner of the U.S. by far.
Apparel imports from Vietnam increased in August by 20.3% year-over-year, to $1.1 billion. For the second month in a row, the value of apparel imported in the month from Vietnam exceeded $1 billion. Though the number two source of U.S. apparel imports, imports from Vietnam have grown the fastest of any top trading partner, up 15.7% so far in 2015, giving it a 1.2-percentage-point share gain so far this year to 12.4% of total dollar imports of apparel, or $7 billion. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looking more likely than ever, Vietnam’s continued rapid growth as a source of imported U.S. apparel could even accelerate.
Imports from Bangladesh fell by 0.2% in August to $488 million, reducing the country’s year-to-date increase to 7.3% increase year to date, though it still beats Indonesia as the third largest source of U.S. apparel imports, at 6.5% of the year-to-date total.
Apparel imports from India grew by 4.8% to $283 million in the month, bringing the year-to-date total to over $2.6 billion dollars, up 9.1% compared to the same period in 2014. India’s share of U.S. apparel has risen to 4.6% so far this year.