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China Captures Large Share Of Textile Trade

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile and apparel imports from all sources showed a 10-percent growth in the first three months after quotas were removed in January, with India and China capturing a big share of that growth. Mexico, which at one time was the largest exporter to the United States, has fallen far behind China which now is the largest exporter of textiles and apparel to the United States.

According to US Department of Commerce data, combined textile and apparel imports from China in the first three months of this year were up by 48 percent from the previous year; and apparel imports alone increased by 102 percent. There were triple digit increases in a number of product categories, and in the case of cotton shirts and trousers they soared up by 1,000 percent. India also has shown significant gains with a 24-percent increase in combined textiles and apparel and 30 percent in apparel alone.

Meanwhile, imports from Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea and Sub-Sahara Africa were among areas showing declines. However, there were some modest gains, around 8 percent, in trade with the Caribbean Basin nations and Central America.The data seem to confirm fears by US textile manufacturers and importers of textiles and apparel that China and perhaps one or two other countries are likely to dominate trade in a quota free world.

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

June 1, 2005