“Imports also fell in volume terms, by 6.8% to
4.25 million tons. Again this decline was the first in more than ten
years”.The drop in imports was due largely to the recession in the
EU. This affected consumer spending, and retailers and other buyers cut
back on their foreign orders in order to avoid being left with unsold
goods ..Nonetheless, despite the weaker economy, the average price
of clothing imports rose in 2009 for the first time in three years.
Indeed, at Euro13.48 per kg, the average import price was the highest
since 2002 ..In fact, eight of the EU’s top ten clothing supplying
countries increased their prices — namely Bangladesh, China, India,
Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Vietnam ..The rise in
the average import price in 2009 may have been partly due to currency
exchange rate movements. Between 2008 and 2009 the euro depreciated
against the US dollar, thus making imports priced in dollars more
expensive in euro terms. This reversed a six-year period of currency
appreciation between 2002 and 2008 when the euro gained in value against
the US dollar almost every year ..For 2010, data for the first two
months of the year suggest that imports will decline even further in
the year as a whole as buyers continue to place smaller orders in these
times of uncertainty. At best, imports could remain stable ..During
the first few months of 2010 the EU market was still subdued due to the
Greek debt crisis and there were signs that other countries within the
euro zone were under threat from increasing debt. Reflecting this, the
value of the euro depreciated against the US dollar by 18.0% between
November 2009 and May 2010 and this will have made imports relatively
more expensive for EU buyers ..In India, for example,
the textile and clothing industry increased its exports to the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia — India’s third and fifth largest
markets — by 20.6% and 17.1% respectively in the year ending March 30,
2009 ..The industry in Indonesia — which is highly dependent on EU
and US markets — turned to the domestic market to offset declines in
its exports. In fact, total retail sales of clothing in Indonesia
increased by 37.2% during 2009 ..In Thailand the industry managed
to increase its textile and clothing exports to several other markets in
Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries during 2009 —
as well as to China — as exports to the EU and the USA fell sharply ..And
in Vietnam, exports to India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines,
Singapore and South Korea all rose at double digit rates. That said,
clothing production fell by 16.2% while output of cotton textiles
declined by 12.8% ..Despite the recent fall in foreign demand,
albeit modest, the Vietnamese textile and clothing industry has set
fairly ambitious export targets for the next decade. In particular, it
aims to sell exports worth US$10 billion-12 billion in 2010, US$14
billion-16 billion by 2015 and US$20 billion 22 billion by 2020 .. .