Apparel Manufacturing: An Examination of the Pandemic Impact on Northern Triangle, Hispaniola, and Mexico (Webinar)

Inter-American Development Bank, 26 March 2021

Speaker: Nicole Bivens Collinson, President, International Trade and Government Relations for Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

4 thoughts on “Apparel Manufacturing: An Examination of the Pandemic Impact on Northern Triangle, Hispaniola, and Mexico (Webinar)”

  1. Unique opportunities for the western hemisphere as an apparel sourcing base include the trade flow between textile exports from the U.S. to Mexico and Central America and the return of imported finished apparel garments. I agree with the speaker’s emphasis on the need for rebalancing touchpoints for the Western Hemisphere. The pandemic unveiled amplified consequences on our supply chains unfit for the delay in orders on a global scale. However, instead of anticipating joint efforts between Central American countries, we should separate the interests of each county in Western Hemisphere. The disparities between output structures for producing apparel and textiles further disconnect the Western Hemisphere from aligning goals. We also see prolonged competition from loopholes in the tariff preference level (TPL) and short supply list. Onwards, the question remains how to make the most out of the existing flexibility and apply the exceptions.

    1. This was an amazing comment! I agree that the pandemic didn’t bring any new fears only uncovered and emphasized ones that already existed. Now that we have this flexibility, I think it would be vital to take advantage by producing what we have absolute advantage and taking advantage of what other countries can give to us in return.

  2. I think it is extremely important that the western hemisphere does not depend on other nations such as China for sourcing. Not only does geography matter when it comes to the flow of goods, but it also has to do with efficiency, and having close neighbors that can help with sourcing. If there were to be another pandemic such as this one in the future, we now know that the spread of it is gradual throughout the world, in that it hits one nation and spreads from that so the country on the opposite side of the globe will not suffer the same consequences as one that started with it. Overall, keeping these things in mind will help the supply chain from breaking or becoming dismantled

    1. Your comments actually touched two points: 1) for US fashion brands and retailers, whether and how to reduce their “China exposure” further. I think at this point, this strategy is working well–as we find in the 2020 USFIA benchmarking study, quite a few US companies now source more products from Vietnam than from China. 2) however, some also try to see to which extent we can diversify textile material sourcing away from China or even from the Asia region. This has proven to be a bigger challenge–as we discussed in the class, much fewer countries in the world can make textiles.
      Particularly regarding apparel producing and exporting countries in the Western Hemisphere, the challenge they face is how to compete with “Factory Asia” in the US market (note: near sourcing is losing market shares) AND is there any way they can diversity their apparel exports to other countries in the world (i.e., countries like Mexico and CAFTA-dr members still mostly only export to the US).

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