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As the fashion industry becomes more globalised and fast-paced, companies’ sourcing decisions are increasingly striking a balance. The most popular sourcing strategy remains 'China plus Vietnam plus Many'. But, more companies are planning to further diversify their production in response to the changing business and trade policy environment, especially with regards to China, according to the USFIA's fifth annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Survey.
Conducted in conjunction with Dr Sheng Lu, associate professor in the University of Delaware, department of fashion and apparel studies, the survey asked respondents about the business outlook, sourcing practices, utilisation of free trade agreements and preference programmes, and views on trade policy.
The survey was conducted between April 2018 and May 2018. The survey was conducted between April 2018 and May 2018. In terms of business size, 76 per cent of respondents have more than 1,000 employees, including 64 per cent with more than 3,000 employees. This suggests the findings well reflect the views of the most influential players in the US fashion industry.
The study further revealed that the respondents are predominantly supporting initiatives to eliminate trade barriers of all kinds, from high tariffs, to overcomplicated documentation requirements, to restrictive rules of origin in NAFTA and future free trade agreements. More than half of respondents explicitly said that NAFTA is important to their business—and they have grave concerns about the uncertain future of the agreement.
Despite concerns about trade policy and cost, executives are more confident about the five-year outlook for the US fashion industry in 2018 than they were a year ago, although confidence has not fully recovered to the level seen in 2015 and 2016, the survey stated.
Overall, the fashion companies in the US are making more commitments to sustainability and social responsibility with 85 per cent of respondents planning to allocate more resources for sustainability and social compliance in the next two years, in areas including providing training to suppliers and internal employees, adding more employees, and working more closely with third-party certification programs on sustainability and social compliance. (RR)
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