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Textile And Apparel Trade Deficit Shrunk In 2009

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Year-end data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show that the textile and apparel trade deficit fell by 13 percent in 2009. Manufacturing industry trade officials say, however, that the decline was due to the collapse of the U.S. economy rather than any long-term improvement.

Commerce department data show the textile and apparel trade deficit amounted to $74 billion based on imports of $90 billion and exports of $16 billion. China accounted for $36 billion of the U.S., imports and only $848 million of U.S. exports, resulting in a relatively minor drop of 4.5 percent in the trade deficit.

Apparel imports from the Caribbean nations, which often contain yarn and fabric made in the United States, amounted to $7 billion, a decline of 17 percent. U.S. trade with the North America Free Trade Agreement countries -- Canada and Mexico -- show $9.4 billion in imports, a decline of 11 percent; and $8.4 billion in exports, a drop of 7 percent from 2008.

U.S. exports to countries with which the United States has free trade agreements remained a little stronger, dropping by only 3 percent from 2008.

February 16, 2010