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Apparel Imports from Vietnam Grow by Double-Digits this Year

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Imported apparel from Vietnam has become a bigger part of the U.S. market in 2014, growing from 10 percent of total apparel imports in the first nine months of 2013 to 11.3% in 2014, a 1.2 percentage point share gain, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).

In September, U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam totaled a record $914 million, a 22.7% increase over last September, bringing the year-to-date total ahead 15.6% to almost $7 billion.

Vietnam is exporting more expensive garments to the U.S. than in the past, with its cost per SME up by 2.2% 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 37.1% to 36.2% of total U.S. apparel imports. However, imports from China picked up their pace a bit in September, increasing by 5 percent to $3.49 billion. Units (on an SME basis) increased by 12.4%, however, resulting in a 3.5% decline in average garment cost on an SME basis.

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.

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

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

The value of total apparel imports for the first nine months of 2014 increased by 2.8% compared to the same period last year, to almost $62 billion, Total unit volume, measured on a square meter equivalent basis, increased by 3.1%, driving down the average cost per SME by 0.2%.

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