US textile/apparel imports and exports exceed pre-pandemic levels

US textile/apparel imports and exports exceed pre-pandemic levels

In 2022, textile and apparel imports into the USA were worth $132.2 billion, exceeding the figure of $127.7 billion recorded in 2019. Exports instead topped the $30.4 billion mark, well up compared to the $22.1 billion recorded prior to the pandemic. The increase in exports over 2019 was equivalent to 37.5%, according to US government data.


In 2020, imports had fallen to $89.5 billion, rising to $113.9 billion the following year, so that the growth in fiscal 2022 was 16%. Southeast Asia accounted for 25.9% of the USA’s 2022 imports, with orders up 29.6% in value. China was the leading supplier country, its order value up slightly to $32.7 billion, with a 24.7% market share. China’s first competitor was Vietnam, the value of whose exports to the USA grew 27% in a year, to $19.6 billion. India was third with $11.1 billion, up by 12.2%.

Then came Bangladesh with $10 billion (up 35.4%), Indonesia with $6.2 billion (up 36.7%), and the European Union with $5.7 billion. Driven by Italy, the EU grew by 13.6% and cornered a 4.29% import share. Imports from Cambodia also increased significantly, growing 31.43% to $5.2 billion, so that in 2022 the country overtook Mexico ($4.8 billion, up by 10.2%) and Pakistan ($4.7 billion, up by 12.9%).

On the export side, North America accounted for 51% of orders shipped from the USA ($12.8 billion), of which $6.8 billion went to Mexico (up 9%) and $5.9 billion (up 11.1%) to Canada. US textile/apparel exports to the EU were worth $2.2 billion, equivalent to a 16.7% increase that made European orders reach an 8.1% market share.

USA drives apparel trade rebound

The other main export countries for the US were Honduras with $1.7 billion (up 22.55%) and China with $798.7 million, down 5.8%. A decline that was notably explained by the impact of the country’s zero-Covid policy on local consumption. Behind China were the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Japan, the UK and Guatemala.


These official statistics can be consulted on the US government’s website, and underline the sustained buoyancy of the US apparel sector, at a time when its European counterpart is being hit by the repercussions of the invasion of Ukraine and the inflation it has triggered on the continent. The USA have indeed been playing a leading role in the renewed growth of international textile and apparel trade since 2021. A fact that was recently underlined by the French Fashion Institute (IFM) at the Première Vision Paris trade show.

The IFM noted that the main international trade flow for apparel in 2021 was exceptionally not the one between Asia and Europe (worth $117 billion), but that between Asia and the Americas, worth $124 billion. Orders to Asia were mainly driven by the USA’s post-crisis demand rebound. Annual figures for European textile/apparel imports and exports are set to be published in mid-March.

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