In many respects, Honduras is a very successful exporter of textiles and apparel, and has developed quite a competitive and complete cluster of companies in that industry. With Honduran exports accounting for 3.4 percent of the total U.S. import market by value, the country is the seventh largest provider textiles and apparel to the U.S., after China, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh, all of which have much larger populations and total output by volume. Honduran exports reached $2.6 billion in 2008, placing the count fourth by volume of apparel, with 6 percent of the Square Meter Equivalents (SME), and the main regional provider of materials within DR-CAFTA. Market share, on the other hand, has fallen in recent years, largely due to the expiration of the Textile Agreement in WTO in 2006 and increasing Chinese competition. Such a large volume of trade for such a small country makes Honduras very important player in the world apparel market, and at the same time ma exports of these products a key component of the country's economy, Textiles and apparel are by far the biggest line items of Honduran exports, and 89 percent of these products go to the U.S. market.

Clearly, the overall performance and development of production in Honduras is quite weak, so the specific strengths, efforts, and initiatives that have made these remarkable achievements possible in the case of the textile and apparel industries deserve much analysis, and should be a standard against bench-marks are set. Furthermore, because so much rides on this sector for Honduras, it is essential to identify the challenges and critical steps for the industry the future.

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This article was originally published in the New Cloth Market, March, 2012.