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United States companies are reducing their exports to Chinese textile and clothing suppliers. This concern eventually occurred. Vice versa, China's exports to the US are also decreasing.

Last year, China's market share in the US apparel market fell to its lowest level in a decade of 23 percent. This is measured by value according to data from the US Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel. In contrast, the combined market share of China's main competitors in Asia, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and Cambodia, rose to its highest level. Over 42 percent in 2020, up 7 percentage points from the previous year.

Despite the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the numerous trade tariff sanctions imposed by the US on Chinese goods since 2018, the flow of US bans and restrictions on specialty cotton products made in the Xinjiang autonomous region over the alleged problem of forced labor. It played a major role in the shrinking shipments of Chinese clothing and textiles to the US last year.

Meanwhile China's total textile and apparel exports to the US fell more than 30 percent from the previous year by value. Shipments of cotton-related goods to the US fell nearly 40 percent, according to US government data.

In particular, only 15 percent of US cotton clothing came from China last year, down from 22 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, imports of cotton textiles from China fell 4 percentage points to 27 percent last year.

“We will not underestimate the impact of non-economic factors on China's prospects as a clothing search destination in 2021. In particular, the reported issue of forced labor is linked to Xinjiang, and the series of actions taken by the US government have had a significant impact. "US cotton clothes are imported from China," said Sheng Lu, a professor of fashion and clothing studies at the University of Delaware, as quoted by the South China Morning Post, Friday (19/2).

"The new Joe Biden administration has expressed its commitment to improving human rights and labor standards in international trade," he added.

Early last month, the US government issued an order to hold cotton and tomato products produced in Xinjiang at ports of entry over issues of forced labor. Orders apply to all products made partly or wholly from Xinjiang cotton and tomatoes, including textiles and apparel.

China remains the largest source of textile and apparel imports for the US in terms of quantity and value. "In other words, a relatively complete local textile and apparel supply chain in China could help US fashion companies reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic," Lu said.

Measured by value, more than 70 percent of US apparel imports still came from Asian countries last year. And, that data has remained stable for a decade.