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USFIA Releases First U.S. Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study

The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), Washington, has published its first U.S. Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study.
Conducted together with Sheng Lu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI’s) Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, the study involved surveying executives from more than 24 U.S.-based companies — including textile, apparel and fashion brands, retailers, importers and wholesalers — between March 2014 and April 2014 about their business outlooks, sourcing practices, utilization of free trade agreements (FTAs) and preference programs, and views on trade policy.
The study found that 89 percent of respondents are optimistic about the five-year outlook for the U.S. fashion industry; and 81 percent are worried about rising costs but anticipate only moderate cost increases in 2014. Other findings include: China will remain the dominant supplier, even though Vietnam and Asia as a whole are seen as having more growth potential; companies aren’t exiting Bangladesh and the ones there are committed to compliance; companies are continuing to diversify their souring and are looking at opportunities closer to as well as in the U.S.; current FTAs and preference programs remain underutilized or don’t represent a main component of respondents’ sourcing; and respondents welcome the passage or renewal of all future FTAs that intend to remove trade barriers and facilitate international trade in the industry.
“This data not only provides useful insight for the broader industry, but will also help the association focus our advocacy activities as we continue to work to eliminate the tariff and non-tariff barriers that impact fashion companies doing business globally,” said Julia K. Hughes, president, USFIA.
June 17, 2014