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China Still Biggest Exporter Of Textiles and Garments to U.S.

U.S. companies may be moving away from China to other locations elsewhere in Asia, the Pacific and closer to home in pursuit of bargain priced sourcing and speedier delivery, but China is still the biggest exporter of textiles and garments to the U.S.

Although U.S. combined imports of textiles and garments from China fell 0.7 percent year-over-year, imports in December were up over the previous year.

In December, 2012, Chinese textile imports to the U.S. hit 1.88 billion square meter equivalents (SME), an increase of 4.5 percent above the same month in 2011. (One square meter is equivalent to 10.76 square feet.)

Vietnam, India and Pakistan were the next closest in imports to the U.S. in December, with 274 million SME from Vietnam, 238 million SME from India, and 164 million SME from Pakistan.

U.S. apparel imports from China in December rose a substantial 11.67 percent over the same period a year earlier to 729 million SME.

Apparel imports to the U.S. also increased from Vietnam, up a whopping 27.99 percent year-over-year, and from Bangladesh, up 13.41 percent year-over-year.

Total U.S. textile imports for 2012 rose 1.8 percent year-over-year to 30.4 billion SME. Clothing imports, however, declined 0.8 percent to 23.7 billion SME.

China’s continued dominance in textile and apparel imports to the U.S. is likely to continue into the short-term as reliable sourcing is established elsewhere. But while the trend away from Chinese sources is still slow, the data shows it’s gaining momentum.

Data on U.S. textile and apparel imports were provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA)