The recession of 2009 had reduced the purchasing power of the US. This reduced the apparel imports. What is the latest status of apparel imports in your land?
As the world experienced the economic downturn, it did have a negative impact on U.S. apparel and footwear sales. Since then, we have seen the market rebound considerably. The U.S. market is now back to pre-recession consumption levels, and we are finding more growth opportunities each day as our economy strengthens.
The area under cotton cultivation has declined. How has this disturbed the demand and supply chain of apparels?
U.S. exports of apparel, textile products, yarn, fabric, and cotton almost all rose significantly in 2011. Reflecting the resurgence in U.S. apparel manufacturing, U.S. apparel exports grew in 2011, with all of the top export markets for U.S.-made finished apparel experiencing significant increases. While the 2012 data is not yet available, we anticipate a continuation of these trends. U.S. exports of yarn and fabric in 2011 rose in virtually all of the top 10 markets, with notable movement upward in Canada, Mexico, the CAFTA-DR region, and China, the biggest customers for U.S. textiles.China is now the # 2 market for U.S. yarn and the # 3 market for U.S. fabrics. U.S. cotton exports in 2011 surged in every single top 10 market.China remained the largest market for U.S. cotton, buying nearly 1/3 of all U.S. cotton exports.
How far do you think that free trade practices actually exist in the world? Do you feel that they are just limited to agreements on papers?
We’ve said many times that “free trade agreements” are not fully “free trade.” Many times, free trade agreements are limited in scope to protect a domestic interest. We face these challenges in the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, especially as these talks relate to flexible rules of origin for apparel products. AAFA and others continue to negotiate for flexible rules of origin that satisfy our 21st century business model.
Why the US is a preferred market for the luxury apparel brands? Do you see any change in this outlook of these brands?
As the global economy continues to improve, consumers are returning to their high-level tastes and preferences for high-end goods. The real growth opportunity for luxury brands is the global market. China may be the fastest growing market for U.S. and European luxury brands.
What will be the significance of apparel sector in the total trade practices of the US in the year 2013-2014?
This upcoming year will be a year of positive growth for the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. As the TPP negotiations continue and the new Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union begin, we will soon realize many trade opening and harmonization opportunities. We also hope to have several trade liberalizing initiatives passed, including the Affordable Footwear Act, the U.S. OUTDOOR Act, the Generalize System of Preferences Update Act, and the SAVE Act as soon as possible.
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