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US apparel imports up 4.8 per cent

The volume of US clothing and fashion imports from all sources grew 4.8 per cent year-on-year in September 2015. Despite rising wages and a strong currency, China continues to be the largest exporter to the US, as no country can match China in terms of the size of its supply base, range of skills, quality levels, product variety and the completeness of its supply chain.

However, Vietnam’s clothing and textiles industries are increasingly receiving encouraging responses from western buyers. So while shipments from China were up 1.48 per cent, nearest rival Vietnam grew at a much faster rate, jumping 10.6 per cent compared to September 2014.

Vietnam is clearly benefiting as transnational and domestic producers operating within the country’s borders are diversifying their supply chains in a bid to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities the Trans Pacific Partnership might open for them.

The US economy is predicted to grow at an average of three per cent as of 2016, which, if true, bodes well for domestic consumption and imports of clothing and fashion items produced in Vietnam. China, anticipating the after-effects of the TPP, has already started moving a large volume of its investments to Vietnam to boost its garment sector and take advantage of the TPP, should the trade pact become a reality.