Blog: Leonie BarrieVietnam's exports to the US continue to surge

Leonie Barrie | 14 July 2015

Apparel imports into the US continued on their upward trajectory in May, with China bouncing back from its second decline this year, Vietnam surging and Bangladesh up again. But while eight of the top-ten supplier counties saw growth, those further down the list suffered.

A deeper look at trade shifts in 2014 shows that Vietnam was responsible for the lion’s share of the overall growth in US textile and apparel imports, while China held its stake of the total at around 39%.

Some of the largest international fashion brands sourcing from Pakistan – including H&M, Li & Fung, Gap India and C&A – have reaffirmed their commitment to improving labour and environmental practices in the country’s textile and clothing sector.

For factories, one of the biggest challenges is how to deal in an open-costing world? As a supplier will it help to give buyers a breakdown of costs, or will buyers just use this as a means of driving cost down?"

?And in terms of technology, while 3D design and virtual prototyping is already well-established in industries like architecture and automotives, the fashion industry is still grappling to find the best ways to leverage its business benefits.

Legacy systems are also holding back manufacturers in the fast-paced fashion industry - with brand owners and manufacturers in many cases questioning whether they are fit for the task in hand.

In an analysis of plans by Li & Fung and Chinese retailers Bailian Group and Wangfujing Department Store to develop private label clothing brands, analysts believe there are considerable challenges to overcome.

And an improving US labour market, rising consumer confidence and higher wages were not enough to spark a significant break-out in spending in June, with half of the clothing chains reporting monthly comparable store sales seeing lower or flat trends.

And in other news, an EU initiative on responsible management of the garment supply chain is being planned; labour rights groups want an overhaul of the approach to inspection reports on factory safety and working conditions; and Bangladesh apparel exports missed their full-year target.

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