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EU tops in garment imports

The EU is now the world's largest garment importer, with shipments increasing at a rapid pace. In contrast, the US is showing marginal gains. US footwear companies are sourcing more from inner China and non-traditional production countries in a bid to offset tariffs and rising costs. While China’s share of the US market has fallen 3 per cent over the past year, Vietnam is gaining the most from this drop.

Colombia's textiles and apparel industry is set to grow 7 per cent  in 2014, buoyed by strong domestic sales. But exports, a key pillar of industry growth, look disappointing. East African countries continue to induce foreign investors to revive their textile and apparel industries.

India has overtaken Germany and Italy to emerge as the world's second largest textile exporter. But it lags behind China, whose exports are nearly seven times higher. With a 4.5 per cent share in world garment exports, Bangladesh has overtaken India, which has a 3.5 per cent share. Garment sales comprise 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports, catalysed by export-processing zones that enjoy subsidized power.

In addition to lower labor costs, Bangladesh’s clothing exports don’t face taxes in at least 37 countries, including EU nations, Canada and Australia.