BANGALORE The U.S. apparel industry depends heavily on imports of raw materials, but rising prices, particularly for cotton, are likely to pressure U.S. apparel makers to increase their prices to hold margins steady.
Following are some key facts about the industry:
* The U.S. apparel and footwear industry has around $350 billion in annual sales.
* In the 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the World Trade Organization worked to lower tariffs and phase out quotas on imported goods into the United States, opening the U.S. market to cheaper imported textiles.
* The United States is the world's largest importer of garments.
* As much as 97 percent of apparel sold in the United States is now made outside the country.
* Most garment production for the U.S. market is now in developing countries such as China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India and the Philippines.
* China alone accounts for 35 percent of all apparel sold in the United States.
* Earlier this year, concerns about the use of child labor in developing countries was a major setback for some exporters of raw materials.
(Source: United States Department of Labor, American Apparel & Footwear Association)
(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)