U.S. textile imports are down by 20.13 percent, or $26.44 billion of a total import market of $132.201 billion, comparing the first three months of 2023 over the same period of 2022. Double-digit losses were spread over most major nations that trade with the U.S., according to figures released May 4 by the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).
The largest U.S. partner, China, took the biggest hit, with losses clocking in at 34.34 percent or about $16 billion less for the first three months of 2023, compared with the same period last year.
Imports from Vietnam were down 23.74 percent and Cambodia 28.78 percent, while Turkey fell 16.59 percent, for the same three months in 2023 over 2022. Malaysia was down 33.51 percent comparing the same three-month period of both years.
Results from countries that might be favorably affected by efforts at nearshoring were mixed. Mexico finished almost flat, with gains of just 1.23 percent, while the Dominican Republic clocked in with gains of 2.01 percent. Seeing double-digit losses were Honduras, down 15.38 percent, Guatemala 21.10 percent, El Salvador 15.19 percent. The six nations in the Dominican Republic-Central America-FTA (CAFTA-DR) were collectively down by 12.60 percent.
The pressure on China was increased recently at a Congressional hearing March 23 where the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), heard expert testimony about the perpetration of genocide in Xinjiang, which produces the majority of cotton coming out of the Asian superpower.