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Drop in EU clothing imports from China

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EU clothing imports from China plunged in volume by 9.9% in the first three months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, according to a new report. The fall followed a 12.5% decline across the whole of 2015, which dragged imports down to their lowest level since 2006.


The declines in both periods represented the steepest falls among the EU’s ten largest clothing suppliers. As a result, China’s share of EU clothing imports from all sources declined in both periods, from 43.3% in 2014 to just 35.1% in the first three months of 2016.


Admittedly, China remained by far the EU’s largest clothing supplier in the first three months of 2016 but a number of other countries gained market share. This apparent shift in sourcing from China to other countries in Asia reflects the fact that several companies in China have moved, or plan to move, at least some of their clothing production to other countries in order to benefit from abundant supplies of cheaper labour.


As well as the benefit of cheaper labour, a number of exporting countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia benefit from preferential trade agreements with the EU and the US, the world’s two biggest import markets, whereas China does not.


source: AWI,

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