Additional tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on US textile and clothing imports from China and the threat of further additional tariffs have had a significant impact on US textile and apparel sourcing patterns. In some cases, the fulfilment of existing orders placed with suppliers in China has been brought forward to circumvent the tariffs. Companies are also avoiding the tariffs by reintroducing outward processing arrangements involving production in China and Hong Kong. Overall, US apparel imports from China have been falling as buyers have resorted to placing orders with low-cost Asian countries other than China, notably Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Buyers have also stepped up their sourcing from Honduras and Nicaragua. Meanwhile, Gildan Activewear intends to close all of its textile and sewing operations in Mexico and relocate the equipment to its operations in Central America and the Caribbean Basin.
However, the company also intends to develop large-scale vertically integrated manufacturing facilities in Asia and, as part of this plan, it has completed a land purchase in Bangladesh. In this report, Robin Anson discusses the impact of the US-China trade war to date and explores the impacts of President Trump's policies on US sourcing from Asia and from countries in Central and South America.