Trade and industry experts on Tuesday warned South Korea is rapidly losing its share of the lucrative US clothing market to rivals from emerging Latin American and developing Asian nations.

According to a report by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), its slice of the US apparel market fell to 3.4 per cent in the first seven months of this year amid fierce competition and preferential trade terms for Latin American countries.

Last year, South Korea had a 3.7 per cent share of the US clothing market versus a 9.7 per cent slice a decade ago, and now lags behind rival apparel exporting nations such as Honduras, China and Hong Kong.

KIET spokesman, Park Hoon, said Korean clothing exporters need to shift production abroad to cut labour costs or improve their marketing strategies in a bid to win back US orders from countries such as Mexico which has a 13.8 per cent share.

He added: "The United States is urging Asian countries including Korea to accept unfavourable trade agreements in the name of free trade but it's meant to keep them in check.

"Worse still, Asia's developing countries like China, India and Indonesia are shipping cheaper clothes for larger shares in the US market."