In the first quarter of 2022, the US’ imported 24.72 per cent more apparels from Bangladesh and Indonesia, as against the same period last year, says latest Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparels (OTEXA) figures. As per a Sourcing Journal report, the country imported 50.12 per cent more apparels from Bangladesh totaling 0909 million SME during the quarter. It’s shipments from Indonesia surged by 46.83 per cent to 376 million SME.
Imports grow despite tariffs, production hurdles
Compared to a year ago, US’ apparel imports from China increased 25.64 per cent to 2.85 billion SME from January to March as against last year. Growth was achieved despite ongoing tariffs and diversification of sourcing from China. The US government is striving hard to introduce a feasible tariff exclusion process for exporters, says Steve Lamar, President and CEO, American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Overcoming production hurdles, Vietnam shipped 18.11 per cent more goods in the first quarter Y-o-Y to reach 1.36 billion SME.
Shipments from India also rose by 34.24 per cent during the quarter to 415 million SME, while imports from Cambodia grew 14.98 per cent to 371 million SME. The US also imported 22.59 per cent more garments from Pakistan totaling 257 million SME during the quarter.
Nearshoring fuels interest from Central America, Western Hemisphere
Exports from other suppliers also benefited from the nearshoring during the quarter. Mexico’s exports went up 11.87 per cent to 214 million SME, while from Western Hemisphere neighbors Honduras and El Salvador saw a jump of 9.21 per cent to 212 million SME and 7.41 per cent to 164 million SME, respectively.
Facilitated by the Central American Free Trade Agreement, interest in the Central American apparel industry also grew. However, the region lacks sufficient investment opportunities. To push up investments AAFA has launched a coalition to engage stakeholders and policymakers to find ways to incentivize investments, says Lamar.
New investments to boost economic development in the region
Hosted by Jose Fernandez, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, a recent meeting between the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and regional textile industry associations attracted US and Central American textile and apparel executives and investors who discussed trade policies supporting economic development in the region. To boost economic opportunities in the region, the textile industry has invested over $20 billion in the US, informed Kim Glass, President and CEO, NCTO. It has also invested billions of dollars in the western hemisphere over the last decade.
ThinkHUGE (Honduras, USA, Guatemala, El Salvador) also announced $340 million investments in textiles and $680 million investments in renewable energy production in the region. The initiative aims to attract investments worth $10 billion in these four countries over five years. It also aims to to create 500,000 direct and 1.5 million indirect jobs. It has already attracted $1.9 billion in new investments that would help create an estimated 160,000 jobs.