Apparel exports picking up from Vietnam as China and its workers get wealthier

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-04-18 11:00:00 – Vietnam

U.S. apparel companies and designers have shifted their production from China to Vietnam, as they find the wages of the apparel factory workers in China has increased more than double in comparison to Vietnam.

The minimum wages are $73 to $111 a month, depending on the region in Vietnam, while in China it has raise to $300 monthly in China’s industrial hub of Shenzhen, close to Hong Kong.

Many U.S. clothing makers find Vietnam workers very skilled and responsible for making apparel the country’s No. 1 export industry.

U.S. apparel imports from China have been practically flat for the 12-month period ending in February this year, inching up only 0.26 percent to $29.6 billion.

While, apparel imports during the 12-month period ending in February from Vietnam have moved up by 14.2 percent to $8.3 billion.

U.S. apparel imports from Bangladesh, another low-wage country rose by 9.3 percent to $4.9 billion.

Mexico also saw its exports to the U.S. dropping despite of the free-trade agreement between the two countries. It recorded total apparel exports of only $3.68 billion during the 12-month period ending in February. In 2009, Mexico was among the top four apparel providers for the United States which is now dropped at seventh position.

Many manufacturers are eyeing to when Vietnamese-made clothing can be brought in duty free because it is part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group of 11 countries working on a free-trade pact with the United States.

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