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February Import Figures Show Continued Shift from China to Vietnam

U.S. apparel imports fell sharply in the first two months of 2017, according to data released last week by OTEXA, the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel. Total apparel imports declined by 4.5% on an MFA basis in the month, to $13.1 billion from $13.7 billion in the year-earlier period.

On a square meter equivalent (SME) basis, imports edged down by 1 percent, continuing the trend toward cheaper goods. The average cost per unit of an imported garment fell by 3.5%.

Vietnam, Nicaragua and Mexico were the only top trading partners to grow their apparel exports to the U.S. on a dollar basis. As a result, all three grew their share.

Despite the demise of TPP, Vietnam’s apparel shipments to the U.S. continue to increase. In the January to February period, it rose by 4 percent, to almost 15 percent of total U.S. apparel imports, a 1.2 percentage point gain.

China and Cambodia saw the biggest percentage declines in apparel exports to the U.S. China lost the most share of U.S. apparel imports in the period, down 1.5 percentage points to 33.4%. El Salvador also saw a significant drop in apparel shipments to the U.S.

Bangladesh, El Salvador and China lost the most share in the period.

Apparel imports from China increased by 4.6% in January to $2.5 billion.

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