With imports supplying most US consumer demand for textiles and apparel, and footwear, it is perhaps not surprising the US trade deficit in both sectors rose last year.

According to an annual report on ‘Shifts in US Merchandise Trade 2013,’ released this week by the US International Trade Commission (USITC), whereas the US trade deficit in textiles and apparel rose by 3.4% to US$97.5bn, the gulf widened slightly more in footwear, by 4% to $23.8bn.

In textiles and apparel, both imports and exports rose 3% to $117.2bn and $19.8bn in 2013, respectively. Meanwhile, footwear exports fell 4% to $789m – a second consecutive yearly decline from a five-year peak of $832m in 2011 – whereas imports jumped 4% to $24.6bn to supply over 98% of domestic demand.

The largest regional supplier in both sectors was Asia, with China the top supply country.

Its share as footwear supplier to the US, however, was down from 72% in 2012 as other Asian producers, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, increased their respective shares of the US market at China’s expense.

But in textiles and apparel, there was a $1.3bn increase in imports from China to $46.2bn in 2013.

With regard to consumer spending, while shoppers were reportedly were more frugal in purchasing clothing relative to expenditures on other goods or services in 2013, the value of US apparel retail sales grew by almost 3%, reflecting growth of $6.9bn in consumer spending on garments.

A similar increase was experienced in footwear, with consumer spending up 2%.

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