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Key Economic Trends

  • After years of increases, U.S. imports of textiles and apparel declined, falling by 3 percent in 2008 to $104.3 billion. The decline in U.S. imports is largely attributable to the downturn in the U.S. economy and decreased spending by consumers.
  • China remains the largest foreign supplier of textiles, apparel, and footwear to the U.S. market, accounting for slightly more than one-third of U.S. textile and apparel imports and almost three-fourths of U.S. footwear imports in 2008, by value. U.S. imports from China have slowed as Chinaís low-cost advantage has eroded in the face of rising production costs and the appreciation of the yuan.
  • In 2008, U.S. imports of textiles and apparel from Mexico and Canada fell by 11 percent to just under $6.0 billion, and by 19 percent to $2.5 billion, respectively. These declines are largely attributable to increased competition from China and other Asian suppliers. U.S. imports from Vietnam rose by 20 percent to $5.4 billion, the largest percentage increase for any apparel exporter to the U.S. market.
  • U.S. exports of textiles and apparel increased by $271 million (2 percent) to $17.8 billion in 2008. Latin America was the largest regional export market for U.S. producers, accounting for close to one-half ($8 billion) of U.S. exports of textiles and apparel.
  • The U.S. trade deficit in footwear increased slightly, by 1 percent, to $18.8 billion in 2008. Although U.S. consumer spending on footwear rose in 2008, the increase was at a much slower rate than in recent years, likely due to the downturn in the U.S. economy.

Trade Shifts in 2008 from 2007

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $3.6 billion (4 percent) to $86.5 billion
  • U.S. exports: Increased by $271 million (2 percent) to $17.8 billion
  • U.S. imports: Decreased by $3.3 billion (3 percent) to $104.3 billion

Selected Product Shifts

USITC Publications

Textiles and Apparel: Effects of Special Rules for Haiti on Trade Markets and Industries, Investigation No. TR-5003-1, USITC Publication 4016, June 2008.

Denim Fabric: Use in AGOA Countries During Fiscal Year 2007, Investigation No. AGOA-002, USITC Publication 4021, July 2008.

Denim Fabric: Commercial Availability in AGOA Countries During Fiscal Year 2009, Investigation No. AGOA-003, USITC Publication 4027, August 2008.

Andean Trade Preference Act: Impact on U.S. Industries and Consumers and on Drug Crop Eradication and Crop Substitution, 2007, USITC Publication 4037, September 2008.

Caribbean Region: Review of Economic Growth and Development, May 2008, USITC Publication 4000, May 2008.

The Year in Trade 2007: Operation of the Trade Agreements Program, 59th Report, USITC Publication 4026, July 2008.

Other Government Resources

International Trade Administration, Office of Textiles and Apparel

Other Resources

American Apparel and Footwear Association.

National Council of Textile Organizations

United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America