U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam continue to surge: up 26%

Vietnam’s growth rate exceeds even China’s; putting Vietnam in the top four suppliers to the U.S., behind only China, Mexico, India

There was concern in October 2006 that that the program to monitor imports of apparel from Vietnam would create so much uncertainty and business risk that it would discourage exports from Vietnam of these products, and factories in Vietnam and U.S. importers/retailers would ‘move orders out of Vietnam’ into other supplying countries that are not subject to this same program.

However, based on actual experience since Vietnam’s export monitoring program went into effect, orders have not been “moved out” of Vietnam, and U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam continue to surge in the first nine months (January-September) of 2007: up 26% over the same period in 2006.

If this trend continues, U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam may reach $4.3 billion this year, more than 40% of the projected U.S. total imports from Vietnam of over $10 billion.

The removal of U.S. quotas on imports of apparel from Vietnam in January 2007, when Vietnam became a member of the WTO, contributed to this surge in U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam.

The first nine months of apparel imports in 2007 (US$ 3.4 billion) have already equaled total U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam for the calendar year 2006.

By comparison, in 2006 U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam were still under quota, and increased 18% in 2006 ($ 3.4 billion) over 2005 ($ 2.8 billion).

Background information

U.S. imports of apparel from Vietnam and other countries (by value): current month

Jan-Sep 2007 U.S. Imports of Apparel from Vietnam and other countries, 6 Nov 2007

U.S. trade with Vietnam (imports and exports)

AmCham Letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative, 6 Oct 2006

AmCham Letter to Minister of Trade re Apparel Trade after WTO Entry 8 Feb 2007

AmCham Letter to Minister of Industry and Trade re Vietnam-US Apparel Trade, 23 Aug 2007

AmCham Letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce, 12 Oct 2007

Trade Issues in U.S. Congress Since Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, it has not approved any free trade agreements that the administration has negotiated, and it has allowed President Bush’s authority to negotiate future deals under expedited procedures to expire. Fortunately, legislation approving Vietnam’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with the U.S. was approved in December 2006, before the current impasse developed.

Commerce Department Completes First Review of Import Data: finds insufficient evidence of dumping to warrant self-initiating an anti-dumping investigation of apparel imports from Vietnam.

EU and China have decided on a system of joint import surveillance that will operate for one year in 2008 following the end of the import growth caps on ten categories of textiles and clothing from China. The ‘double checking system’ will track the issuing of licences for export in China and the importation of goods into the EU.

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