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China, India, Pakistan Dominate U.S. Home Textiles Imports

Home textiles from abroad continue to enter the U.S. in growing numbers–a trend that could continue.

In all, imports of home textiles accounted for $9 billion in 2012, a figure that will grow by about 7 percent this year, predicts the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

China is the world’s largest exporter of home textiles to the U.S., with 46 percent of the year-to-date total (through May).  From January to November 2012, 1,831 Chinese home textiles manufacturers showed a year-on-year increase of 14 percent, reports TextileResearchMoz, an online supplier of research reports and industry analysis. Luolai Home Textile, Jiangsu, achieved sales in 2012 that were six times that in 2011, according to the China Home Textile Industry Report, 2012-2015. (Luolai’s domestic sales growth rate for its bed linens, coverings and pillows was, in fact, even much higher than the export growth rate.)

Exports from India accounted for about 22 percent of home textiles imported to the U.S. in 2012, with Welspun India Ltd.,  in Gujarat, India,  registering as one of the largest exporters of the entire range of home textiles for bed and bath.

Pakistan ranked third, with 9 percent, according to OTEXA.

All in all, the top three countries represent 77% of total imports of home textiles to the U.S.

Turkey, ranking fourth (ahead of Germany) is enjoying growth in its exports, mainly high-end cotton terry bath towels. Luxury bed linens from such countries as Italy make up a small, yet strong, part of the market.

Home textiles manufacturers from China, India and Pakistan are working to cooperate with the U.S. on issues related to style, making fashion statements to appeal to the American consumer. One example is a new designer collection of coordinated layered prints (following the current apparel trend) by the model Iman for the Mumbai-based Alok Industries.

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Xu Yingxin, executive vice chairman of Sub-Council of Textile Industry, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT TEX), speaking at the Home Textiles Sourcing Expo in New York in July, said that he hoped the event could “promote further cooperation between Chinese manufacturers and their American business partners in the aspects of designing, branding, research and development.”

Pakistan’s Gul Ahmed is one of its largest home textiles manufacturing companies, making bed, bath, kitchen textiles and such accessories as decorative pillows. Since its inception in 1953, the company has serviced a diverse range of customers around the globe.

There are many newcomers whose owners hope the U.S., among other countries, will become a growth market for them, as well.