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Vietnam Has Record Share Gain of U.S. Apparel Imports in IH 2014

Vietnam reinforced its position as the fastest growing supplier of U.S. apparel imports by gaining 1.2 percentage points of share in the January through June period.

Total apparel imports for the first six months of 2014 increased by 3 percent compared to the same period last year, to $37.5 billion, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). Total unit volume, measured on a square meter equivalent basis, increased by 2.3%, driving up the average cost per SME by 0.6%.

Vietnam has enjoyed the biggest share gain of U.S. apparel imports so far this year, growing from 10.2% of total apparel imports in the first six months of 2013 to 11.4% in 2014, a 1.2 percentage point share gain. In June, U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam totaled $760 million, a 16.2% gain over last June. Total apparel imports rose by 7 percent on a CIF basis in the month.

Vietnam is exporting more expensive garments to the U.S. than in the past, with its cost per SME up by 2.3% so far this year. Key categories for Vietnam are: women’s cotton knit tops, women’s and men’s cotton pants, women’s manmade fiber knit tops and dresses, and cotton underwear.

China has suffered the biggest share loss so far in 2014, dropping from 33.8% to 33 percent. However, China’s apparel shipments to the U.S. rose by 6 percent in June, to $2.5 billion. Units (on an SME basis) increased by 11.3%.

Key product categories from China include women’s cotton knit tops, women’s and men’s cotton pants, women’s manmade fiber knit tops and dresses, manmade fiber hosiery and  manmade fiber bras.

Indonesia edged ahead of Bangladesh as the third largest source of apparel to the U.S. on both a dollar and unit basis. Both countries have lost share in the first half of this year, however.

Bangladesh’s exports to the U.S. have declined by 1.4% in dollars on a year-to-date basis amid demands by U.S. apparel customers requiring factories there to invest in and improve safety conditions. Apparel imports from Indonesia have dropped by over 4 percent so far this year, with units down 2.2%.

India has gained a small amount of U.S. apparel import share so far this year. Key categories include men’s and women’s cotton and manmade fiber knit and woven tops.