Evolving Patterns and Social Economic Impacts of World Textiles and Apparel Trade: Discussions Questions from FASH455

 

Patterns of world textile and apparel trade

#1 Based on the readings, why or why not do you think Africa is on the right track to become the next hub for apparel sourcing for western fashion brands?

#2 Based on the readings, do you think that any of the countries/regions discussed can become the “next China?” If so, what are the challenges faced by these exporters that have been gaining market shares (such as Vietnam and Bangladesh)?

#3 Why is Asian companies investing the most into the apparel industry in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) rather than U.S. or EU investors? Notably, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a trade preference program between the U.S. and SSA countries.

#4 If the punitive tariffs on Chinese goods are removed next year, why or why do you think U.S. retailers will increase apparel sourcing from China again?

#5 To which extent do you think the comparative advantage theory can explain the evolving world textile and apparel trade patterns?

#6 What policies or strategies could the US government use to convince companies to invest in the Sub-Saharan African region instead of countries like China and Vietnam?

Debate on used clothing trade

#7 Did you feel that the United States really explored every and any possible solution before deciding to suspend Rwanda’s eligibility under the AGOA? If not, what more could they have done or done differently?

#8 The US-EAC trade dispute on used clothing import ban is a very multilayered matter, which can be broken down with the help of trade preference programs. How can we improve the effectiveness of these trade preference programs and revolutionize them to become more significant in today’s economy?

#9 EAC countries are having a difficult time developing their local textile and apparel industry due to the large amounts of used clothing being imported and even proposed a high tariff to lower the amount of clothing being imported. Do you believe the ban on used clothing is the only option they have left for economic growth? If not, what are some ideas of ways they can grow their economy?

#10 The EAC countries have shown their unwillingness to used clothing trade. However, the US has presented that they are indifferent to regulate the used clothing trade as they are one of the biggest used clothing exporters. Are there any solutions to achieve the win-win situation on used clothing trade?

#11 The used clothing ban is put in place in order to develop the apparel and textile industry, but there needs to be more education for countries on sustainability. There is a big stigma about used clothing that needs to be abolished as well. An alternative to this ban is allowing used clothing, but also creating new clothing more sustainably so apparel and textile companies can profit. What are some other sustainable alternatives that benefit both sides?

#12 Given the debate on used clothing trade and its impact on East African nations, will you continue to donate used clothing? Why or why not?

[For FASH455: 1) Please mention the question number in your comments; 2) Please address at least TWO questions in your comments]

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

11 thoughts on “Evolving Patterns and Social Economic Impacts of World Textiles and Apparel Trade: Discussions Questions from FASH455”

  1. #2 I do not think that there is another country that will become the “next China” as China will be replaced by a group of countries instead. Fashion brands and retailers are increasingly diversifying their sourcing to not become dependent like they have previously with China. I believe that the SSA is going to emerge as one of the countries that companies will increasingly source from as they are becoming a top apparel exporter.
    #12 As a consumer, I will continue to donate my clothing because I think it is an excellent way to recycle garments rather than putting them in the garbage and ultimately into landfills. I believe in general, the fashion industry should not be producing as many clothes for a ridiculous number of seasons, and the government should make a policy on the amount of clothing that is being produced by these big retailers. If we have less clothing to start from, then there will be less unused clothing to be donated.

    1. Why you believe “I believe that the SSA is going to emerge as one of the countries that companies will increasingly source from”? Any supporting evidence?

  2. #1. I think Africa has the potential of becoming a strong player in the apparel sourcing industry for western brands. I don’t think they will ever be as powerful as China, but with the help of more advanced countries, like the US and China, Africa could expand their apparel sourcing industry.

    1. why is that? For example, over the past 10 years, African countries have barely gained any additional market shares in the US apparel import market, despite AGOA. Few US fashion companies have invested in Africa directly…

  3. #12. I will continue to donate or try to sell my used clothing despite learning about both sides of the debate. As a consumer, I’m frequently purchasing new clothing items and I’d rather donate my used clothes instead of tossing them in the trash and having it end up in landfills. I know this may not be the best solution but as an average consumer, I’m not sure what else could be done in this situation to help.

  4. #2 I feel that Vietnam has the most potential at becoming the “next China”. Currently Vietnam ranks fourth in worldwide apparel exports valuing at 31.5 billion dollars with a growth rate of 13.4% compared to Bangladesh’s apparel export growth rate at 11.1%. Further, Vietnam’s textile to apparel export ratio has been rising steadily as well and for these reasons I foresee Vietnam as potentially becoming the next manufacturing powerhouse. However, Vietnam make experience some challenges in becoming the “next China”. Currently, Vietnam’s apparel manufacturing industry receives most of its textile imports which are used to create the clothing from China. If China is backed up or behind schedule and unable to export textiles as readily, Vietnam’s apparel production industry will fall behind schedule as a result. Therefore, in order for Vietnam to become the true “next China” they need to begin to source their own textiles.

  5. #1 Based on the readings, why or why not do you think Africa is on the right track to become the next hub for apparel sourcing for western fashion brands?
    I don’t think Africa is prepared to become the next hub for apparel sourcing. For one, current apparel sourcing hubs like China and Vietnam have steadily increasing textile to apparel export ratio while the textile to apparel export ratio remains low in Sub-Saharan Africa. This just goes to show that although they export labor intensive apparel they have no growth in the capital and more technology intensive textile products. In the long run, it makes it is an issue for US retailers to source from the region because many lack a vertical and textile supply chain. Another reason why Africa is not prepared for this role is because their exports are not diverse enough. Apparel in China is only 12% of the country’s total manufacturing exports which means the country is not totally reliant on the apparel industry for its exports. Africa however has some countries where apparel and textiles account for 80% of total exports and other countries where it accounts for less than 10% of total exports. This goes to show that the sector is not looked at as a development priority for the local economy. Overall, Africa will still be viewed as an opportunity for apparel sourcing hut there are many challenges with Africa’s textile and apparel industries that can’t be ignored.

    #12 Given the debate on used clothing trade and its impact on East African nations, will you continue to donate used clothing? Why or why not?
    There have always been rumors about where your used clothes you donate actually end up. It was eye opening in the video to see the workers sort through all the clothing. When I “donate” my clothes I personally always thought that they went to those who needed them without them having to pay for it like homeless shelters and other places like that. I was never under the impression that my clothes could end up in Rwanda where they are then resold to the people who can only afford second-hand clothes. Lately, I have been into selling my clothes that I don’t want anymore on websites like thredup or poshmark. Items that can’t be sold I normally end up donating however after this I am probably going to consider other ways to either upcycle or reuse my clothes that I would typically donate. My last resort would probably then be to just donate them.

  6. #12. After being informed on this topic I feel that I will continue to donate my unused clothing, as a consumer our closets are always growing and at times it feels better to donate clothing rather than throw it away or sell to for profit. After hearing both sides of this topic I feel that I personally will continue to donate my clothing as to me it feels more productive.

  7. #4: If the punitive tariffs on Chinese goods are removed next year, I think that U.S. retailers will increase apparel sourcing from China again, but to a lesser degree than in the past. There is a reason that China has become the world’s most important sourcing hub, and it has long been one of the “safest” options for retailers. Without the tariffs, these companies will have greater incentive to continue sourcing from China. However, they may also find it necessary to diversify should tariffs be reinstated, or another event emerges that could cause disruptions in the supply chain.

    #12: Currently, I dispose of my used clothing by donating to Goodwill. I will continue to do so because it creates the possibility for the garments to be re-used by another Goodwill customer. Even if the clothing goes unsold and is sent to East African nations, I feel like there aren’t really any better options for disposing of used clothing. Simply throwing it in the trash will guarantee that it ends up in landfills, which is harmful to the environment. Problems related to the impact of used clothing on East African nations and the environment will have to be addressed through government action, developing the nations’ economies, and reducing overall clothing consumption.

  8. #2: Based on the readings, I do believe that other countries/regions can become the “next China”. However, in my opinion, it will not be just one country, it will be multiple. Regarding the current pandemic, other countries have already had to source from elsewhere. The United States imports from mainly China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh as well as many others, but these are the top three. As Vietnam and Bangladesh are on the rise, they may be faced with some conflicts and challenges to be able to heavily compete with China. Some of these challenges may be: technology, safety, availability of materials, timelines, as well as transparency. Certain brands that outsource their garments or materials are big on transparency. Meaning, they rely on honesty regarding manufacturing conditions, worker safety, and garment materials.

    #5: I believe the comparative advantage theory plays a key role in the world of textiles and apparel. The textile and apparel industry is constantly evolving. Comparative advantage means a country’s relatively bigger absolute advantage or its relatively smaller absolute advantage. Countries are able to specialize in what they are good at, rather than have to do it all. Comparative advantage explains how the textile and apparel industry has evolved as a whole, many countries work together to source different products and they each play a key role in the supply chain. Comparative advantage is important because it allows the best possible outcome for certain products. For example, many countries are not do not have the same resources, some have more capital, some are more technologically advanced, and others specialize in other areas.

  9. 7.
    #1 Based on the readings, why or why not do you think Africa is on the right track to become the next hub for apparel sourcing for western fashion brands?

    I think that as much as Africa grows it will never be the same hub for apparel sourcing as Asia. Something we talk about in class is the flying geese model, this has allowed many Asian countries to become more popular for apparel sourcing. On top of that countries in Europe focus on Asia as well as other European countries for sourcing and trade. The US has produced incentives to produce in Africa however at the end of the day AGOA is not enough to reroute the sourcing in Asia. If anything AGOA has been shown to have an imbalance in sourcing meaning that specific countries within Africa may be growing in sourcing but it does not mean that Africa as a whole will become a hub as these countries are not at the point of growth to branch into other African countries.

    #12 Given the debate on used clothing trade and its impact on East African nations, will you continue to donate used clothing? Why or why not?

    Something that we have focused on in our sustainibility class is the sale of used clothing within Africa. This country is utilizing this clothing to try to grow their own economy. Richer countries may not see this as a smart idea but these countries do not have the same resources as we do. Things like this make me still want to donate clothing. The thing that is difficult is if clothing goes unsold and is sent to East African nations, it can still become waste. Personally I do not want to resort to throwing out my clothing as it is still considered waste. One option is to in the future purchase sustainable clothing or clothing made from recyclable materials to either offset/balance out the environmental issues regarding this or to donate to a company that will recycle it instead.

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