22 May 2012 -For the first time since the opening of quotas, China has lost market share in 2011 against Central America in US apparel imports. While China has seen a drop due to higher raw material and labor costs, CAFTA-DR seems a competitive option for US buyers because of its duty-free access and its ability to offer higher speed-to-market for US retailers. Our report offers a comprehensive statistical analysis per category of US apparel imports from CAFTA-DR compared with total US imports and shipments from China. Multiple year data from 2008-2011 are available for download.
7 June 2011 - US apparel imports from Central America began slowing down in the first quarter this year, after sharply rebounding in 2010. Compared with China, however, Central America benefited from a lower price increase in most apparel categories, as reflected by our comparative tables.
18 November 2010 - US apparel imports from Central America are this year strongly rebounding, after experiencing a continuous decline in the past four years. Rising costs in China are resulting in a shift to Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and even the Dominican Republic. So-called CAFTA-DR countries are now taking advantage of low labor costs, proximity and duty-free access to the US market.
24 July 2009 - US apparel imports strongly declined from the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic over the first quarter this year. Proximity and duty-free access no more confer an advantage to regional exporters of knit apparel after woven apparel sales had already dropped in the past three years, as indicated by our statistical tables.
3 April 2009 - U.S. apparel imports from Central America suffered from rising competition from China in the past four years. A series of niche markets were however preserved, thanks to the protection offered by the U.S. limits on Chinese shipments. With these quotas now lifted and the economic recession depressing the market, shipments from CAFTA countries are shrinking across the board.
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