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Vietnam Leads US Textile and Apparel Imports Growth in July, China Still Soars

Textile and apparel imports in the United States continued to be led by China in July, despite rising labor costs and fiscal uncertainty, while Vietnam, Cambodia and South Korea posted double-digit gains, according to monthly figures published Thursday.

The International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) reported that total textile and apparel imports to the U.S. rose 10.6 percent to $5.9 billion on a square meter equivalent (SME) basis in the month, compared to the year-ago period, with Asian suppliers leading the charge.

Overall apparel imports were $2.6 billion SME in July, up 7.1 percent in the month and bringing the year-to-date total to $15.2 billion SME, while total textiles increased 13.4 percent to $3.4 billion SME, or $21.2 billion SME for the year so far.

China topped the suppliers at just over $3 billion SME, a nearly 12 percent increase over July 2014. (It remains to be seen if the yuan’s depreciation in August will have an effect on shipments.) India placed second at $391.3 million SME, growing the country’s year-to-date total by 12.3 percent to $4.55 million SME.

But Vietnam posted the biggest percentage increase of any top 10 trading partner: Imports climbed 14.9 percent to $376.8 million SME in July, giving the Southeast Asian nation a 12.5 percent share gain so far this year.

Cambodia experienced an uptick, too, increasing 12.9 percent to $92.9 million SME in the month (but a year-to-date loss of 0.3 percent) and South Korea grew 11 percent to $131 million SME, delivering the lion’s share of the year’s import growth at 13.2 percent so far.

Mexico was the only top 10 supplier to register a decline in July: Shipments fell by 1 percent to $220.8 million SME.