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Textiles are resurgent. The environment poses a problem

In human history, not very long ago, clothes were treated as items that cover a person's body and protect it from ill climate conditions. That if it was fashionable and pleasant in appearance could prove an added benefit. This phenomenon is long a thing of the past. With fast fashion, trends have come and resulted in an all-time high in the production and consumption of clothing. And indeed, clothes now must always be fashionable before they are anything else. This uptrend is confirmed by the latest textile import export data.  

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Textile Commodity Analysis

Textiles as a commodity include items such as non-knit/knit articles of clothing, t-shirts, rubberized knitted fabric, synthetic woven fabric, yarns, linens, and raw cotton. The textile markets have resurfaced from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand has shifted away from PPE kits to apparel-related textile exports. India and Pakistan have capitalised on an increase in demand for knit fabrics.

Textiles Export Analysis

Textiles export data displays that China, the European Union, and India have continued their dominance in the textile market. The top two account for over three-fifths of the global export volume. India, Turkey, and Pakistan have recorded the highest amount of growth in the past few years. Middle and lower-income countries, like Bangladesh and Vietnam, are harnessing the power of low input costs to eat away at developed countries’ market share in the textile sector. This shift will be solidified further in the coming years.

Textiles Top Exporters

1. China ($286 billion)

2. Bangladesh ($46.2 billion)

3. Vietnam ($43.7 billion)

4. India ($41.4 billion)

5. Germany ($40.4 billion)    

Textiles Import Analysis

Countries in the developed world import the majority of textiles to make merchandise and other indigenous items of clothing. The United States and countries in the European Union are leaders in textile imports, as per textile import data. Bangladesh, Poland, Vietnam, and China recorded the highest increase in demand. As North American countries look to bring production closer to shore, Latin American manufacturers could see increased production.

Textiles Top Importers

1. United States ($135 billion)

2. Germany ($66.7 billion)

3. Japan ($33.7 billion)

4. France ($33 billion)

5. United Kingdom ($31.3 billion)

What the future holds

Southeast Asian Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong continue to post heavy gains in building export robustness. Shifting away from emergency production, the world is coming back to producing more apparel and merchandise. Textile global trade is expected to stabilize soon.

The textile industry must focus on meeting sustainability standards and minimizing its impact on the climate. With the advent of fast fashion, new clothing lines are produced and consumed in record time and almost always end up in a landfill. The textile industry is one of the top contributors to climate change. Manufacturers’ response to the challenges and policy interventions aiming to regulate the same will be a key determinant in textiles’ future.