Trade and trade policy: the EU clothing import market and its ten largest suppliers 2009 edition
EU clothing imports fell in volume by 2.5% to 4.40 mn tons during the 12 months ending June 30, 2009. In terms of value, however, they increased by 2.9% to a total of Euro60.08 bn (US$82.00 bn). The average price of imports rose by a firm 5.6%.
The largest supplier of clothing to the EU during the year was China with a 44.8% share of the total by valueâ€'up by a sizeable 6.3 percentage points from a share of 38.5% a year earlier. Chinese manufacturers have enjoyed growing demand from buyers in the EU, partly because they have successfully dealt with the rising value of the renminbi and upward pressure on wages. They have done so by moving upmarket and making better quality clothing while relocating basic manufacturing operations to lower cost areas inland or abroad.
Of the remaining top ten supplying countries, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were the only other suppliers to enjoy growth in value and volume terms during the year ending June 30, 2009. In fact, imports from Bangladesh were up by 15.3% in value and 3.4% in volume, and there was an 11.5% rise in the average import price. Imports from India rose by 4.9% in value and by 3.0% in volume, and the average import price went up by 1.8%. Imports from Sri Lanka were up by 10.2% in value and by 1.6% in volume, reflecting an 8.4% increase in the average import price. Imports from Pakistan, which entered the top ten for the first time, were up by 3.7% in value and 0.3% in volume. In the case of Vietnam, EU imports rose by 6.7% in value terms but fell by a sharp 32.7% in volumeâ€'reflecting a significant 58.6% rise in the average price.
Meanwhile, three suppliers located on the Mediterranean rimâ€'Turkey, Tunisia and Moroccoâ€'all performed disappointingly despite their close proximity to the EU market, as EU imports from those countries fell in value and volume.
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