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China no longer top clothes exporter to US as Vietnam gains market share


Seven months ago, China was still the largest supplier of products for fashion companies in the United States, but its significant advantage over Vietnam has since evaporated because of the coronavirus and the decoupling tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.


US apparel imports from China, by value, dropped from almost 30 per cent in 2019 to 20 per cent in the first half of 2020, now on par with Vietnam after the Southeast Asian nation improved its market share from 16 per cent over the same period, according to the US Department of Commerce.


The erosion of the Chinese position in the US fashion supply chain partially reflects growing tensions, as American fashion firms are forced to reduce their exposure to Chinese suppliers in response to the trade war, the coronavirus pandemic and deteriorating bilateral relations.


A survey by the United States Fashion Industry Association, which polled 25 executives from leading fashion companies in the second quarter, found that while most imported from a mixture of countries, including China and Vietnam, 29 per cent said they sourced more from Vietnam than China this year, up from 25 per cent last year.

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