Business & Policy | Import/Export | Industry Updates

USA’s apparel import from major suppliers, January-August 2023.

Published: October 28, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

As per the OTEXA, USA’s apparel import from the world has declined by 22.77% in January-August 2023 to US$ 53.45 billion from US$ 69.21 billion in January-August 2022. If we look at the volume wise data (measured by Square Meter Equivalent (SME)), the import has declined by 26.80%, that means to 16.49 billion SME in January-August 2023 from 22.53 billion in January-August 2022.

During the mentioned period, USA’s apparel import from Bangladesh also dropped significantly by 21.77% year-over year to US$ 5.18 billion from US$ 6.62 billion. It has also declined by 29.10% In terms of quantity which means as 2.23 billion SME imported in January-August 2022, whereas 1.59 billion were imported in January-August 2023.

Though in the month of July 2023, USA’s import from Bangladesh came back on the positive trend after 5 months of consecutive negative growth, however in August, the growth in value terms has declined again by 33.71% year-on-year.  

During Jan-Aug 2023, USA’s apparel import from China has declined by 29.47% in value terms to US$ 10.98 billion from US$ 15.58 billion in the corresponding period of 2022. In terms of quantity, the decline is recorded 27.17%, i.e. to 5.80 billion SME from 7.96 billion SME.

USA’s import from Vietnam, the second largest source of apparel, has also shown negative growth by 24.57% (to US$ 9.65 billion from US$ 12.80 billion) in value terms during Jan-Aug of 2023 compare to the same period of 2022. In volume term, USA’s import from Vietnam has also declined by 28.08% (i.e. to 2.57 billion SME from 3.56 billion).

At the same time, negative growth was observed in case of other top sourcing countries such as:  Indonesia by -26.09%, India – 21.59%, Mexico – 8.87%, Cambodia – 27.28%, and Pakistan – 29.24%.

However, the unit price per SME of USA’s import from the world has increased by 5.50% in January-Aug 2023 to US$ 3.24 from US$ 3.07 in January-Aug 2022.  For Bangladesh, the unit price per SME was US$ 3.27 during the mentioned eight months which was USD$ 2.97 during January-August of 2022, that means unit price increased by 10.35% year-over-year. The unit prices of other countries have also shown positive growth except China (3.16% decline). This is to be noted that the rise in unit price is caused (to certain extent) by inflation of raw materials price and other manufacturing costs. The contrast between the growth of USA’s global unit price import vis-a-visa unit price from Bangladesh reveals the fact of our incremental value-added capability in the industry. as we also see from our export basket, non-traditional and high value-added items’ presence is increasing in our exports, factories are making investments in items like active wear, outerwear, lingerie which I believe will contribute more robustly in our export and growth in the days to come. Side by side, the investments in backward linkage industry will help us retain foreign currency, reduce lead time, improve our innovative capacity and take us ahead to comply with double transformation rules of origin in EU while our graduation from LDC will take effect.

During the mentioned eight months USA’s global import of apparel is slashed by almost 16 billion dollars, which is enough to indicate the slowdown in retail business and overall economy. Though the decline in import from Bangladesh (declined by 1.45 billion dollars) is relatively less in monetary value compared to China (declined by 4.6 billion dollars) and Vietnam (declined by 3 billion dollars), the urge for avoiding dependence on few major markets cannot be justified enough to ensure our growth sustenance. However, USA remains our major market and we still have scope to further specialize our capacity for this market, we should keep exploring alternative markets.

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