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Trade and trade policy: the world's leading clothing exporters and key markets, 1st quarter 2010
published in Issue 9, 1st Quarter 2010
World clothing exports were worth US$361 bn in 2008, the latest year for which global data are available. Of this total, the world's top 15 clothing exporters accounted for 87%, or US$315 bn. In terms of individual countries, China remained the largest exporter in 2008 with over US$120 bn worth of exports, representing 33% of the global total. The EU maintained its position as the second largest exporter, followed by Hong Kong, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and the USA. Double digit growth in exports was enjoyed by the industries in Bangladesh, the EU, India and Vietnam. However, there were falls in exports from Hong Kong, Mexico and Turkey. Moreover, it is likely that the global economic downturn will have negatively affected the prospects of these industries further in 2009. As a result, there is pressure on policy makers to create growth opportunities in 2010.
Chinese export growth slowed to 4% in 2008 as sales to four of its top ten markets—the USA, Hong Kong, Russia and South Korea—fell. However, these falls were offset by strong growth in exports to the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan. Since the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, exports to these two countries have grown at an exceptional rate. That said, a large proportion of exports to these countries are subsequently re-exported to Russia. Elsewhere in Asia, domestic exports from Hong Kong continued to plunge. In fact, those to the territory's major European destinations plummeted by 65% or more following the elimination of safeguard restrictions against EU imports from China. Other Asian exporters, on the other hand, fared reasonably well. India's exports rose by 11%, Bangladesh's by 16%, Vietnam's by 18% and Indonesia's by 7%.
In the EU, exports to non-EU countries increased by 12%. Double digit growth was seen in exports to several markets, including Turkey, the UAE, Ukraine, Russia, Hong Kong, Norway and Switzerland, although declines were recorded in exports to the USA, Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, Turkish exports fared poorly, having fallen by 2% in response to sharp drops in exports to the USA and the UK. In the Americas, US exports rose for the first time since 2000. However, they were still low compared with previous years. Mexican exports, meanwhile, continued to fall, as the country remained dependent on the US market, which continued to be depressed.
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Trade and trade policy: the world’s leading clothing exporters and key markets
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