Sourcing by garment brands increasingly moving out of China: ILO

02 Aug '21
2 min read
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

The declining trend of China’s garment exports is in line with the view of many observers that the reliance on Chinese garment and footwear production is shrinking, according to a research brief by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Although the diversification of production to countries other than China is a trend that is expected to continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and indeed may further accelerate, the crisis is prompting some firms to re-evaluate the worth of a broader supplier base to diversify supply chain risk. Few industry analysts believe this will extend in any significant way to other regions like Africa, the research brief said.

Even though production of garment and footwear has been moving out of China, textiles from China will likely remain an important ingredient for the industry for years to come. China accounted for 40 per cent of global textile exports in 2019, continuing on an increasing trend that started around 20 years ago, it said.

Though China has remained a main source of apparel and footwear, accounting for 33 per cent of the world’s exports in 2019, exports have been on a downward trend recently, declining from 37 per cent in 2015.

Bangladesh and Viet Nam have benefited most from the shift away from China. The two countries’ combined share of apparel and footwear exports to the world was 37 per cent of China’s share in 2019, which is remarkable because their combined gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 was less than 4 per cent of China’s GDP.

In contrast, the apparel and footwear exports of other countries, such as Sri Lanka or India, as a share of the world’s exports in these products, have remained constant or even decreased, the brief, titled ‘The post-COVID-19 garment industry in Asia’, noted.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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