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Report On Foreign Trade Development Of China'S Textile And Clothing Industry

2022/5/7 18:50:00 33

Foreign Trade

In 2021, China's economy will continue to recover, its position as a major trading country will become more stable, and the "14th Five Year Plan" has achieved a good start. At the same time, China actively promoted the formal entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), and constantly deepened multilateral economic cooperation to deal with the risk of counter globalization. In 2021, China's total import and export trade of goods will exceed US $6 trillion, an increase of 30%, and the scale of foreign trade exports and imports will both hit a record high. The textile industry is among them and has made important contributions. China's textile and clothing exports totaled 315.5 billion US dollars in the whole year, which continued to grow steadily on a high trade base in 2020, hitting a new record high, fully demonstrating the industry's resilience and efficient and stable international competitive advantage of the whole industry chain, which is independent and controllable.


   1 Basic situation and main characteristics of foreign trade in China's textile and clothing industry in 2021

1. Exports of textiles and clothing grew steadily throughout the year, and the growth rate of clothing exports hit a new high in recent years

According to the statistics of China Customs, the national textile and clothing export in 2021 will reach 315.5 billion US dollars, an increase of 8.4% year on year (in RMB, an increase of 0.9% year on year). Among them, affected by the high export base of epidemic prevention materials in 2020, the textile export showed a negative growth trend in the second and third quarters of last year, and the growth rate began to turn positive month by month in the fourth quarter and continued to rise. In 2021, China's textile exports to the world will reach US $145.22 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 5.6%, but an increase of 22.0% compared with that before the epidemic (2019, the same below). At the same time, supported by the rebound of overseas consumer demand, backflow of some orders and other factors, China's clothing (including clothing accessories, the same below) exports totaled $170.28 billion, up 24.0% year on year, 16.0% higher than before the epidemic, the best level since 2015.

Figure 1 China's textile and clothing monthly export volume and year-on-year growth in 2021

Data source: China Customs

   2. The import scale of the industry continued to expand, and the import of textile yarn, clothing and other products exceeded the pre epidemic level

In 2021, China's textile and clothing imports will reach 27.73 billion US dollars, up 20.4% year on year. Among them, the textile imports from the world reached US $15.72 billion, up 14.4% year on year and 2.5% higher than before the epidemic; Imported clothing reached US $12.02 billion, up 29.3% year on year, 36.5% more than before the epidemic.

In terms of textile imports, in 2021, the increase of import demand for yarns and fabrics in our industry will play a major role. In the whole year, China imported 8.07 billion dollars of textile yarn from the world, a total of 2.55 million tons, with the import amount and quantity increasing by 36.3% and 11.6% respectively year on year. Among them, the import of cotton yarn from the world was 5.95 billion US dollars (2.118 million tons), with the import amount and quantity increasing by 40.0% and 11.4% respectively year on year. About 45% of the imported cotton yarn products come from Vietnam, and other major source countries include India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. In 2021, China's cotton yarn imports from Vietnam (US $2.72 billion, 948000 tons), India (US $980 million, 318000 tons) and Pakistan (US $760 million, 278000 tons) increased by 34.2%, 74.3% and 40.8% year on year respectively. In addition, in 2021, China will import 3.86 billion dollars of textile fabrics, up 16.7% year on year, but 17.9% less than that before the epidemic; The import of textile products was 3.79 billion US dollars, down 16.1% year on year, 4.8% higher than the pre epidemic import level.

With the upgrading of domestic consumption and the improvement of the production layout capacity of garment enterprises in the transnational supply chain, in recent years, the scale of China's clothing imports from the EU, Southeast Asia and other countries has continued to expand. During the 13th Five Year Plan period, the annual average growth rate of China's clothing imports was about 10%. In 2021, China will import US $12.02 billion of clothing from the world, up 30% year on year and 36.4% more than before the epidemic. Among them, high-end clothing products imported from Italy and France increased by 61.8% and 66.9% year on year; Clothing imports from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea all grew by about 20% year on year.

   3. The United States remains the industry's largest trading partner, and China's textile and apparel exports to ASEAN have grown significantly

For a long time, the United States, ASEAN, the European Union and Japan are the main export markets of China's textiles and clothing. In 2021, China's textile and clothing exports to these four traditional markets will total 172.49 billion US dollars, accounting for about 55% of the global exports. Among them, the United States is the largest export target of our industry, with an annual export volume of US $56.35 billion, up 4.0% year on year, accounting for 18% of the industry's total exports. In recent years, the economic and trade relations between China and the United States have continued to evolve, and the game between major countries has intensified. At present, the United States still imposes import tariffs on some goods in China, and has introduced laws to unilaterally block the entry of Xinjiang cotton and its products into the international supply chain system. Our industry's exports to the United States face pressure under the new situation, but still have strong international competitive advantages.

Figure 2 Proportion of China's textile and clothing exports to major destination countries/regions in global exports in 2021

Data source: China Customs

In 2021, China's textile and clothing exports to ASEAN will grow significantly. In the whole year, China exported 49.12 billion dollars of textiles and clothing to the ten ASEAN countries, up 24.9% year on year. Among them, the export growth to Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand is particularly prominent, with year-on-year growth of 60.4%, 54.2%, 40.8% and 35.5% respectively.

In addition, influenced by Brexit, the EU has become the third largest export market in our industry, behind ASEAN. In 2021, China's exports of textiles and clothing to the 27 EU countries will reach 46.99 billion US dollars, down 11.1% year on year, mainly due to the reduction of textile exports, and clothing exports to Europe will grow by 21.3% year on year. Over the same period, China's textile and clothing exports to Japan reached US $20.03 billion, down 7.2% year on year, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Statistics of China's textile and clothing exports to some countries/regions in 2021

Data source: China Customs

   4. Textile upstream yarn and fabric exports to emerging markets increased significantly

From the perspective of main export products, the export advantages of upstream textiles in our industry, including yarn, fabric/fabric and end products, are relatively stable, and their share in the international market has been increasing since the epidemic. According to WTO statistics, China's textile accounted for 43.5% of global textile export trade in 2020, an increase of 4.3 percentage points compared with that before the epidemic (2019). According to customs data, in 2021, China will export US $13.8 billion of textile yarn and US $66.7 billion of fabric to the world, with year-on-year growth of 41.5% and 34.3% respectively. Among textile products, the export of epidemic prevention masks accounted for about 20%, with an export volume of 12.95 billion US dollars. The export amount and quantity decreased by 76% and 13% respectively year on year. The decline in the export unit price of masks (↓ 72.3%) led to a significant decline in the overall export of textile products. Except for masks, the export volume of other textile products (including home textiles, industrial textiles, etc.) was 51.72 billion US dollars, up 27.5% year on year.

Figure 3 China's textile exports to the world in 2021 (by product category) and year-on-year

In 2021, China's textile exports to some Southeast Asian, South Asian and African countries will grow rapidly. In the whole year, China exported 14.77 billion dollars of textiles to Vietnam, up 24.6% year on year, accounting for 10.2% of the global textile exports; Textile exports to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia increased by 59.0%, 52.4% and 42.0% year on year respectively. In the same period, China's textile exports to India and Pakistan in South Asia, as well as Nigeria in Africa, also achieved a high growth, with export growth rates of 75.1%, 46.0% and 36.1% respectively.

Table 4 Exports of Chinese textiles (by product category) to some countries in 2021 and year-on-year figures

Data source: China Customs

   5. The recovery and differentiation of the international consumer market, and the growth of clothing exports is mainly driven by the demand recovery of developed economies

In 2021, the increase of China's clothing exports will become an important factor driving the growth of foreign trade in the industry. According to China's customs, in 2021, the export volume of China's clothing products to the three major markets of the United States, the European Union and Japan will increase by 36.3%, 21.3% and 6.3% respectively. At the same time, clothing exports to ASEAN, South Korea, Australia, Canada and other countries and regions have also increased year on year, and the scale has exceeded the pre epidemic level. From the perspective of export products, the contribution rate of knitted apparel to the export growth of the industry is higher than that of woven apparel. In the whole year, China's exports of knitted clothing and clothing accessories (according to the statistics of Chapter HS61) reached 86.48 billion US dollars, up 39% year on year; The export of woven clothing and clothing accessories (according to Chapter HS62) reached 70.12 billion US dollars, up 12.6% year on year.

Figure 5 Statistics of China's clothing exports to some countries/regions from 2019 to 2021

Data source: China Customs

   6. The adjustment of the global supply chain is accelerating, and the international competitiveness of clothing exports in developed economies is under pressure

At present, the global industrial chain supply chain pattern is accelerating adjustment, and the trend of localization, regionalization and decentralization is highlighted. Although China is still the primary source country of textile and clothing imports for most countries in the world, its share in major international markets, especially in the international clothing market, is gradually declining.

Taking the US market as an example, according to the trade statistics of the US Department of Commerce on major import source countries, in 2021, the textile and clothing imported by the US from China will account for 30.5% of its global imports, 8.6 percentage points less than the market share in 2020, and 4 percentage points less than that before the epidemic (2019). Especially clothing products, ASEAN's import market share in the United States in 2021 (28.7%) has exceeded China's 3.5 percentage points. In the first quarter of 2022, the proportion of ASEAN clothing imports in the United States will further increase to 30.8%, and the market share has been 8.2 percentage points higher than that of China.

In addition, the 2021 data released by Eurostat shows that the textile and clothing products imported by the EU from China account for 34.3% of its imports from outside the EU, down 8.3 percentage points from 2020 and slightly higher than 1.7 percentage points before the epidemic. Among them, clothing imported from China accounted for 31.5%, basically maintaining the share level in recent years; In the same period, Bangladesh, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and other countries increased their import market share in the EU by about 0.4 to 1.7 percentage points.

For the Japanese market, according to Japanese customs statistics, in 2021, Japan's imports of textiles and clothing from China accounted for 55.4% of its imports from the world, down 3.2 percentage points from 2020, while Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Cambodia all accounted for an increase in the Japanese import market.

   7. The trade volume with countries along the "Belt and Road" has continued to grow, and the industry's foreign trade structure has become more diversified

Since the "Belt and Road" initiative was put forward eight years ago, China's textile industry has become closer to trade with countries along the Belt and Road. In 2021, China's exports of textiles and clothing to 64 countries along the "Belt and Road" will reach US $113.79 billion, an increase of 24.5% year on year, 17.3% larger than the scale before the epidemic, accounting for about 36% of global exports; At the same time, China imported US $13.16 billion of textiles and clothing from countries along the "Belt and Road", up 24.5% year on year. The joint construction of the "Belt and Road" has played a positive role in promoting the diversification of export markets and mitigating the impact of external demand, and the industry's foreign trade structure has been further optimized.

(Writer: Cui Xiaoling, Textile Industry Branch of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade/International Trade Office of China Textile Industry Federation)


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