THE global textiles and clothing (T&C) exports have reached at US$ 695 billion in 2012 and are growing at a CAGR of 5.94 percent over the last decade (2003 – 2012). The major contributors to T& C Trade in the world are China, European Union, South East Asian nations (ASEAN), India, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, and Turkey etc. The Asian continent has already emerged as the largest sourcing hubs of T & C in the world. China is the major textiles and clothing exporter in the world during 2012 cornering an export share of 35.42 percent of the total textiles and clothing exports of the world, followed by European Union (7.39%), ASEAN (7.13%), India (4.70%), Hong Kong (4.60%), etc. With an exception of Hong Kong, rest of the exporters is posting positive and impressive growth rates. Among them, the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN), the third largest exporter of T&C to the world is the strongest growing T& C supplier (16.65%). The ASEAN as a trade block has a population of more than 600 million and a combined GDP of more than 2.2 trillion USD. The recent years have seen fierce competition amongst the nations of ASEAN in manufacturing and export of high value chain textiles products particularly the apparels.The share of textile and clothing products in the total T&C exports and the growth rates of these players have been detailed in table-I.

Among the sourcing destinations of the world, ASEAN has been becoming a popular sourcing destination of the world as the member countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are becoming major sourcing hubs for apparels. During 2012, ASEAN has put a total trade of US$ 49.53 billion. The growth of the T & C of the partner countries put together has been estimated at 16.65 percent which is more than that of China and India. Since apparel is becoming a major export product for some of the members of ASEAN coupled with their strong export growth, it has become impulsive to study the export performance of the apparel items of the ASEAN (falling under the 2-digit HS 61 & 62), followed by an in-depth analysis of the products competitiveness at 6-digit HS in the world market. While doing so, two important factors of competitiveness such as unit value realization (UVR) and resource endowments have been examined not only to compare the competitiveness but also their long term sustainability in the world market.

TABLE I
T&C EXPORTS IN THE WORLD (Billion $)

 Country

Segment

2012

Avg
2003-12

Share
(%)

CAGR
(%)

China

T&C

246.06

160.12

35.42

12.87

T

73.77

46.08

27.44

13.16

C

172.29

114.04

40.46

12.74

European Union

T&C

51.31

44.4

7.39

3.75

T

21.63

20.98

8.05

1.48

C

29.68

23.43

6.97

5.84

ASEAN

T&C

49.53

29.16

7.13

16.65

T

15.05

8.69

5.6

13.59

C

34.47

20.47

8.1

18.32

India

T&C

32.68

22.16

4.7

10.09

T

15.81

9.79

5.88

12.04

C

16.87

12.36

3.96

8.56

Hong
Kong

T&C

31.93

36.58

4.6

-0.93

T

10.33

12.16

3.84

-2.23

C

21.61

24.41

5.07

-0.24

WORLD

T&C

694.74

565.62

100

5.94

T

268.88

221.4

100

5.18

C

425.86

342.22

100

6.46


Note: T&C: Textiles & Clothing, T: Textiles, C: Clothing
Source: Authors calculations based on data sourced from www.wits.worldbank.org