Blog: Leonie BarrieTrade talks scuppered again

Leonie Barrie | 30 September 2005

An air of uncertainty continues to hang over US-China apparel trade after yet another round of talks aimed at slowing surging imports of Chinese-made clothes onto the US market broke down this week. A deal – any deal – would surely be better than none at all. It would put an end to the insecurity plaguing both buyers and suppliers who are currently unable to make any concrete long-term sourcing plans out of fear that they may have to reallocate or cancel orders at the last minute on the whims of government officials and lobby groups. Just look at the fallout that continues in Europe after officials capped imports from China without really understanding the implications of imposing new quotas in the middle of a production cycle.

Liz Claiborne is the latest to admit it will limit its opportunities in China in the face of the ongoing trade dispute which makes it impossible to plan ahead. The New York-based company, which owns brands such as Liz Claiborne, Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman, was in the process of reducing its global suppliers from 35 countries to just 10-15, including a focus on China sourcing. Now it says ongoing trade wrangles mean the company will maintain China sourcing levels at around 30 per cent.

But of course it won’t be US producers who benefit from this change of plans – despite what the lobbyists might hope. Production will instead be boosted in countries such as Thailand or there’ll be a return to outward processing arrangements (OPA) under which part of a Chinese-made garment is processed in Hong Kong so that it qualifies for a ‘made in Hong Kong’ label and avoids quota restrictions.

Either way, China will continue to be the most important country in any sourcing strategy. It’s there for the long term, and of course it’s not going to go away. And without a doubt, when the quota system finishes in 2008 and there really is free trade companies will pick up the China focus where they’ve been forced to leave it for now.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?