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'China's share of apparel imports surge phenomenally' - NCTO

Dec '08
Mr Cass Johnson, President, NCTO
Preliminary import figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show that Chinese apparel exports took a record 54 percent of the U.S. apparel import market in November and Chinese exports in key quota categories are surging by as much as 132 percent as China approaches the end of quotas on January 1st. November was the first month in history that the Chinese share exceeded 50 percent.

Cass Johnson, President of NCTO, said that while Chinese exports dipped earlier in the year, this end of year surge was not a surprise: “When the Chinese government saw textile exports underperforming, they did what they have always done – they increased subsidies. China has pumped $10 billion in new export subsidies into their textile sector since July and they are having the desired effect.”

Johnson noted the Chinese actions made a mockery of their agreement at the G-20 to avoid protectionist measures. He urged the incoming Obama Administration to work to save U.S. jobs by responding quickly if the Chinese surge continues into 2009.

Johnson said, “This is a dangerous moment for our industry and our workers. Our country is in the midst of deep economic downturn, the textile sector is already suffering, and 66,000 textile and apparel workers have lost their jobs during the first eleven months of the year.

Now, the Chinese government is pouring money into its textile sector in a bid to grab market share. The new Administration needs to send a message that U.S. textile jobs are not available for China's picking.”

China's share of the U.S. apparel market fell early in 2007 but has climbed through the rest of the year as the Chinese government increased textile subsidies on three different occasions and began devaluing the Yuan.

In categories still under quota, Chinese exports from September to November are running as much as 132 percent ahead of 2007 numbers. (2007 was China's biggest export year in history in apparel).

In men's cotton trousers, China is 132 percent ahead of 2007 numbers, in women's cotton trousers China is 115 percent ahead, in women's knit shirts, China is 58 percent ahead.

Johnson observed that “It is telling that in the worst retail market in memory, China is posting some of the biggest end of year export gains in history.”

In related news, trade figures from the European Union show that imports from China surged following the removal of safeguard quotas in 2008.

Exports of Chinese goods under safeguard increased by 45 percent during the first eight months of 2008 while prices of Chinese textile and apparel products under safeguard dropped an average of 12 percent.

Click here to view apparel import statistics.

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