Think about the last time you checked the clothing tag on a new shirt that you bought. Did it say, “Made in China”? Or how about Vietnam or Bangladesh? There’s a good chance that your new shirt was manufactured in another country, especially one in east or south Asia.
Top 10 Countries by Clothing Exports
1. China: $158 billion
2. Bangladesh: $33 billion
3. Vietnam: $28 billion
4. Italy: $25 billion
5. Germany: $24 billion
6. India: $17 billion
7. Turkey: $16 billion
8. Spain: $15 billion
9. Hong Kong, China: $14 billion
10. France: $13 billion
As you can see, the value of China’s clothing exports is almost five times higher than the value of the second-highest clothing exporter, Bangladesh. This isn’t surprising, since China beats all the competition in overall exports. The U.S. in particular relies heavily on exports from China. China was the United States’ largest supplier of imports in 2018, providing $557.9 billion worth of goods. Notably, U.S. imports from China fell in September.
Although clothing is not listed as one of the top imports or exports between China and the U.S., the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China has led to both countries increasing tariffs on many types of goods and has caused much uncertainty for the world’s two largest economies.
Since the research from the World Trade Organization shows that the value of clothing exports from China remained fairly constant between 2017 and 2018, it will be interesting to see how the clothing industry was affected in 2019.