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Global Apparel Markets
Issue 1:
1st Quarter 2008

Product Overview
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Reports in this issue
Talking strategy: expert views on US apparel sourcing (5 pages)
World trade in T-shirts
Developments and innovations in the apparel sector, 1st quarter 2008 (13 pages)
Trade and trade policy: the world's leading clothing exporters, 1st quarter 2008 (30 pages)
Organic cotton: measures taken to encourage market growth (5 pages)
Apparel business update, 1st quarter 2008 (16 pages)

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World trade in T-shirts
published in Issue 1, 1st Quarter 2008  


World trade in T-shirts has been growing at a healthy pace in recent years. Over the four years to 2006 global imports rose at an annual average rate of 14%, reaching US$26 bn.

In terms of geographical region, the largest market for T-shirts is the EU. In 2006 the EU imported US$9 bn worth of T-shirts, or more than one-third of global imports. The second largest market for T-shirts is the USA. In 2006 the country imported approximately 17% of world imports, or US$4.4 bn worth. These two regions together took more than half of global imports of T-shirts during that year. The remainder was spread over a number of countries, led by Japan and followed by Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and South Korea.

As far as the EU market is concerned, Turkey was the largest supplier by value in 2006. Imports from the country were worth Euro2.1 bn (US$2.6 bn) and represented 29% of total EU T-shirt imports during the year. Bangladesh was the second largest supplier with a 16% share of total imports. Imports from China and India, in third and fourth place respectively, were particularly impressive between 2004 and 2006. Indeed, supplies of T-shirts from India to the EU shot up by an average of 49% a year while the corresponding growth rate for China was 34%.

As far as the US market is concerned, the largest supplier by value during 2006 was Mexico, followed by Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Collectively, these six countries accounted for 54% of US T-shirt imports during the year. Several large North American companies—such as Gildan Activewear, Hanesbrands and Delta Apparel—have invested in production facilities in these countries in the hope of profiting from low labour costs, geographical proximity, and trade preference agreements. Output from these facilities is sold to parent companies in North America, which helps export growth in the country of operation. The seventh and eighth largest suppliers of T-shirts to the USA by value in 2006 were, respectively, China and India. Both countries enjoyed particularly strong growth in the market between 2004 and 2006. The growth reflects an improvement in these countries’ competitiveness since the removal of quotas at the end of 2004.

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Four times a year, Global Apparel Markets provides essential and up-to-date analysis and insight into the global apparel industry.

Reports contain updates on developments in the apparel sector, trade and trade policy, research-based information on individual market sectors, business news and expert opinions on strategy – to keep retailers, manufacturers and investors informed of the facts and figures which will affect their businesses.

Each issue contains:
a detailed research-based report or company profile covering information on sourcing, developments in technology, colour and/or fabric trends, market sectors such as discount retailing, or other issues which affect companies in the apparel industry;
a round-up of industry developments and innovations in the apparel sector;
a feature on trade and trade policy;
advice from industry experts on strategy; and
business news
An annual subscription to Global Apparel Markets is a cost-effective way to keep yourself and your colleagues informed about trends and developments in the global apparel industry. The reports are available on subscription in printed and electronic format.

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