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Textile News

Textile Imports On The Rise Again

Washinigton Outlook

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

By James A. Morrissey, Washington CorrespondentThe leveling off of textile and apparel imports that occurred last year has ended as imports once again are on the rise. But what is interesting is that imports of apparel continue to fall off while textile imports are soaring. Charles V. Bremer, vice president of international trade at the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), says the continuing decline in apparel imports is due to weak retail sales, but the sharp increase in textiles can be traced to a "rather more ominous source." He says the data indicate that there is an increasingly strong market for textiles but the bulk of it is being filled by imports. "The shuttering of hundreds of mills during the past two years has taken billions of yards of woven and knit fabric capacity off the scene, but there still is a large demand for fabric in the domestic market."He says the mills that remain in business are at a competitive disadvantage, because devalued Asian currencies are resulting in lower prices which domestic mills have difficulty meeting.Commerce Department data for the first two months of this year show a 10.3-percent increase in textile imports over the comparable period of last year, while and apparel imports were down 3.1 percent. Imports from North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Mexico and Canada were down in both categories, with textiles off 4.2 percent and apparel down 6.8 percent. Exports presented an even more disappointing picture for U.S. manufacturers, as exports of textiles were down 10.5 percent and apparel down 27.2 percent.



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