A US Perspective Essay
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With a total import of 6926. 2 million dollars in December 2008, the US is arguably the leading player in the global textile industry (US Government, 2009). China is one of USA’s leading partners in ensuring that the textile industry develops. The textile industry has in the past years been displaying positive growth except for the 2007-2008 period when the level overall imports dropped by 3685 million dollars (US Government, 2009).
Developing an understanding of the dynamics that affect the textile industry is important in ensuring that this sector is sustained due to the important role it plays in ensuring that US nationals are clothed and economic development.
It is apparent that if the trends are not corrected the US economy may be negatively affected. Demand in the US clothing industry is affected by a large number of factors within sits social and economic environment. Though the US records considerably low levels of birth rate, immigration greatly affects the levels of population growth rate.
Due to clothing being a basic need, the textile industry is affected by the levels of population growth.
Demographics though dependent on culture and even the levels of educational attainment are affected by existing legal systems and political policies that are in place. The US government’s failure to deal with illegal immigration may increase the pressure that the textile industry faces in meeting high demand for clothing. Clothing and lifestyle are two factors that display high levels of correlation (Nordstrom, 2007).
Trends in clothing that may be affected by the levels of economic empowerment, the prevailing economic conditions, fashions and dynamics within the society for instance short term preferences all affect demand within the clothing industry. Seasonal factors for instance weather pattern greatly affect specific clothing that is in demand. The effects of climatic patterns are an important factor that even supersedes fashion in determining demand for clothing.
It is therefore apparent that the political, social, legal and even technological environment relayed through fashion affect demand for clothing in the US. The textile industry is labor intensive and success is dependent on not only ability to organize internal inputs but also availability of required resources (Plunkett, 2008). The cost of labor in nations like China is lower than in US which is one of the key reasons as to why the US imports clothing (Rofel, 2007).
Another reason for importing clothing is availability or raw material especially natural fabrics; cotton, wool and silk are readily available in nations like Turkey than in the US though it produces some of these materials (Rofel, 2007). Due to the drop that has been experienced in textile imports, it is logical to expect an increase in internal production especially in non synthetic fabric. Moreover, designing as a segment in the clothing industry will continue growing due to the role played by fashion in determining the nature of demand in the clothing industry.
Natural fabric and low cost clothing segments however will still continue relying on imports due to low availability of raw materials in the US and the need to create a cost advantage that is critical to ensuring affordable clothing. A look at data derived from the textile industry clearly shows that nearly 70% of the nations that export textile to the US are Asian (US Government, 2009). This can be explained by the low cost of labor in such nations and the close bilateral relationship between Asian nations and the US (Taylor, 2008).
Another important trend is the general increase in textile imports; this can be explained by population growth experienced in the US. On the contrary, recent poor performance can be blamed on the negative trends that were displayed by the US economy in late 2007 and early 2008 that may have reduced investor confidence (Taylor, 2008). The US is clearly dependent on other nations for its clothing and textile needs which may negatively affect its internal potential to develop its textile industry. However, high level segments like designing have come up as beneficiaries in the considerably long textile industry chain.
It is evident that by importing textile more entities or industries gain than if the US heavily relied on its internal ability. This universal gain is important in ensuring sustainable economic development.
Nordstrom, C. (2007). Global outlaws: crime, money, and power in the contemporary world. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California Press. Plunkett, J. W. (2008). Plunkett’s Apparel & Textiles Industry Almanac 2008: Apparel & Textiles Industry Market Research, Statistics, Trends & Leading Companies.
Houston, TX: Plunkett Research, Ltd. Rofel, L. (2007). Desiring China: experiments in neoliberalism, sexuality, and public culture. New York, NY: Duke University Press. Taylor, M. (2008). Global economy contested: power and conflict across the international division of labor London: Taylor & Francis. US Government (2009). U. S. Imports of Textiles, Textile Products and Apparel, Top Trading Partners Top Countries based on current month. Retrieved 30 June 2009 from <http://www. census. gov/foreign-trade/statistics/country/sreport/country. txt>