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Industry Talk

World textile and apparel exports fall in 2016

World Trade Statistical Review 2017 looks into the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends.

6th December 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Geneva


According to the newly published World Trade Statistical Review 2017 by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the current dollar value of world textiles and apparel exports by top ten countries totalled US$ 246 billion and US$ 384 billion respectively in 2016, decreasing by US$ 22 billion and US$ 3 billion respectively from a previous year.

China remained the top exporter of textiles in 2016, with a 37% share of world exports, even though its exports declined by 3%. The next biggest exporters were the EU, with a 23% share, growing by 1% in 2016, and India, with a 6% share, a decline of 6%. Pakistan rose from ninth to seventh position while Vietnam entered the top ten for the first time with a 2% share, an increase of 9%.

Top ten exporters of textiles, 2016. © World Trade Organization

More than half of the top ten textiles exporters recorded a decline in the value of their exports, with the highest decline of -13% experienced by Hong Kong, followed by Taiwan (-8%), South Korea (-6%) and India (-6%), the US (-5%), and China (-3%).

The top ten exporters of clothing in 2016 remained unchanged. However, Hong Kong (China) fell from fifth to sixth position and India did the reverse, rising to fifth place. China’s exports of clothing fell by 7% but it still stayed in top position, representing 36% in value of world exports of clothing in 2016.

EU exports of clothing increased by 4% in 2016, reaching a market share of 26%. The highest increases were recorded by Cambodia and Bangladesh – 6% for both countries. Exports of China and the US fell the most, by 7% and 6% respectively.

Top ten exporters of clothing, 2016. © World Trade Organization

Measured in value, the EU, the US, and China were the top three importers of textiles in 2016, accounting for 37.9% of world textile imports. The countries were followed by Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong (China), Bangladesh, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia.

The EU, the US, and Japan also remained the top three importers of apparel in 2016, altogether accounting for 63% of world apparel imports in 2016. Notably, China’s apparel imports have been experiencing an annual growth of 17%, much higher than most other countries, followed by South Korea at an annual growth of 12%, and Australia at 5%.

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