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US apparel trade deficit up six per cent

In 2018, US trade deficit in apparel rose nearly six per cent from a year ago. The share of US textile and apparel manufacturing in GDP dropped to 0.15 per cent in 2017 from 0.57 per cent in 1998. However, US textile manufacturing is gradually coming back. The value added of US textile manufacturing reached its highest level in 2017 since 2009.

The size of the US textile and apparel industry has significantly shrunk over the past decades. Textiles accounted for over 80 per cent of the total output of the US textile and apparel industry as of 2017, up from around 50 per cent in the late 1990s. Clothing accounted for only 12 per cent of the total US fiber consumption in 2012, whereas the manufacturing of non-apparel textile products in the United States, such as industrial and technical textiles, has been growing particularly fast over the past decade. In 2018, US textile manufacturing and apparel manufacturing lost jobs. However, improved productivity is one critical factor behind the job losses.

The United States remains a leading textile exporter and apparel importer overall. For the first time since 2001, the US textile sector has experienced a trade deficit rather than a trade surplus.