As the overall U.S. economy is showing signs of improving, both imports and exports of textiles and
apparel are on the rise.
Government trade data covering the first quarter of this year show that exports of yarn were
up by 23 percent over the comparable period of 2009, and fabric exports increased by 19 percent. At
the same time, apparel imports from all sources increased by 11 percent; and yarn imports were up
18 percent and fabric imports, up 19 percent.
China continued to dominate apparel trade, accounting for 80 percent of the increase in U.S.
imports, while trade from the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
area was up 9 percent and imports from Mexico were up 9 percent. In the case of Mexico and
CAFTA-DR, apparel imports that enter the United States duty-free must contain yarn and fabric made
in the United States or the other participating countries.
Of major concern to U.S. textile manufacturers is the fact that much of the apparel import
trade with China was in the so-called “sensitive categories” of underwear, trousers and knit
shirts, for which import quotas were removed last January. While worldwide trade in these
categories was up just 7 percent, U.S. imports of those products from China were up 55 percent.
June 8, 2010