Blog: Leonie BarrieThe price of US imports from China continues to fall

Leonie Barrie | 19 March 2019

Despite concerns about sourcing from China amid an intensifying trade war with the US, newly-published figures show China continues to dominate US apparel imports – with import volume rising and prices continuing to fall again last year. Indeed, China's apparel per unit prices are the lowest of all the top-10 supplier countries – dropping in 2018 for the sixth year running.

The Rana Plaza tragedy pushed Bangladesh's US$30bn clothing industry into making health and safety improvements to reassure brands they would not be tarnished by similar disasters. And now the industry is going a step further by seeking to establish a reputation for environmental excellence – with some 280 Bangladesh factories in the process of getting LEED-certified.

A new training scheme has also been launched in the country as part of a wider bid to get more women into supervisory roles in the Bangladesh garment sector.

Workers in Ethiopian garment factories are continuing to earn low wages and are discriminated against for union affiliations, a new survey has revealed. The findings come as thousands of workers at the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, the country's flagship textile and apparel production base, are reported to be on strike as part of wider unrest across the city.

And value fashion chain Primark has taken another step in its move towards using sustainably sourced cotton across its product ranges – launching its first line of jeans made with 100% sustainable cotton purchased directly from farmers participating in its Sustainable Cotton Programme.

Imports into the UK of certain apparel, including men's or boy's cotton shirts and swimwear, would be subject to tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the country's government announced last week – but the vast majority of products would enter tariff free.

just-style’s latest monthly round-up of updates to key free trade agreements and trade preference programmes involving the US, EU and Japan covers developments in February 2019. Trade agreements, rules of origin, tariffs and schedules are all covered in depth in the re:source by just-style strategic planning tool.

Meanwhile, in other news, Adidas has warned its supply chain is struggling to meet demand for mid-priced apparel; Chinese garment maker Shenzhou International has started work on a US$150m production facility in Cambodia; and a new initiative is underway to try to find ways to recycle multi-layer coated textile materials used in outdoor gear.

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