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CHINA NOW TOP EXPORTER OF APPAREL, TEXTILES TO U.S.

WASHINGTON-China has surpassed Mexico as the number-one exporter of apparel and textiles to the United States. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce revealed that in 2002, imports from China rose 125 percent to nearly 5 million square meters, valued at $8.7 billion. China now holds a 13 percent share in U.S. imports, double what it had a year ago. It had a 14 percent share of the import pie in the 1990s before it lost its top ranking to Mexico in 1996.

"China has taken full advantage of the withdrawal of quotas by joining the World Trade Organization in late 2001," said Donald Foote, director of the agreements division of the Commerce Department's Office of Textiles and Apparel.

Overall, apparel and textiles imports from around the world surged 16.7 percent last year, marking the biggest growth since 1997. Textiles imports in 2002 rose 25.9 percent to 21.02 billion square meters equivalent compared with 2001, while apparel imports rose 7.2 percent to 17.25 billion SME in 2002.

China's gain alone was one-half of the total rise in the U.S. textiles and apparel imports in 2002, Foote said. He added that about 79 percent of the 2002 textiles import growth was in only seven categories, virtually all of which had quotas removed on Jan. 1, 2002. They include man-made fiber furnishings, including curtains, blankets and quilts; a cotton category composed of towels, kitchen linens and handbags.
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Title Annotation:surpassed Mexico
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Mar 3, 2003
Words:244
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