French textile imports from China declined marginally by 2.1 percent year-on-year in 2012, as Chinese manufacturers are facing increased competition from other textile exporting countries like Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Poland, Spain and Portugal, the French textile federation has said.
This is the first time that China’s exports to French textile and apparel market have witnessed a decline since the abolition of quotas in 2004.
The share of Chinese textiles and apparels in the French market increased from 10 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2005 and to 34.1 percent in 2011, according to the data of the Association of French fashion.
But, in the first 10 months of 2012, China’s share in French textile and apparel market dropped to 33.9 percent. In terms of value, French imports of textiles from China decreased by 5.8 percent year-on-year, while imports of India-made textiles increased by 16.17 percent year-on-year.
In fact, China’s textile exports to entire European market dropped significantly by nine percent year-on-year during the period, according to the data.
According to analysts, there are several reasons for the reduction in Chinese textile exports to French and European markets. First, Chinese textile and apparel manufacturers are now producing more for local brands, owing to rapid development of China’s domestic market, resulting in a dip in production for foreign brands.
Secondly, inflation and appreciation of Renminbi cut competitiveness of Chinese textile products, although the production efficiency of Chinese textile manufacturers continues to rise.
Thirdly, wages in Chinese textile and apparel sector have risen by 181 percent since 2004. In 2012, the wages in Chinese textile and garment industry increased by 25 percent and they are likely to grow by another 20 percent in 2013.