Fashion Unknown Fact – U.S. Apparel Manufacturing Runs a $76 Billion Trade Deficit

According to U.S. Congress JEC report, the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry currently runs a trade deficit. In 2014, U.S. apparel exports totaled roughly $6 billion, while imports were about $82 billion.

Over one-third of U.S. apparel imports come from China (36 percent), with Vietnam (11 percent), Bangladesh (6 percent), Indonesia (6 percent), and Mexico (5 percent) rounding out the top five. Various studies note that conventional trade statistics may overstate the size of the U. S. trade deficit because they fail to fully capture the value added at different stages of the design and development process that is generated in the United States.

The report also states the apparel industry’s reshoring efforts – returning some manufacturing back to the United States.  Apparel was the third largest reshoring industry in the manufacturing sector in 2014 and accounts for 12 percent of manufacturing reshoring cases since 2010.  This could stem in part from the “fast fashion” trend, shortening production leads times, and/or the value in “Made in America”.

Source:  United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, Ranking Democrat Carolyn B. Maloney, The Economic Impact of the Fashion Industry, pdf report

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Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor