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Textile and Apparel Industries in Central America Showing Big Potential

February 17, 2017 12:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

LONDON -The textile and apparel industries in Central American countries are becoming increasingly competitive in the global market. Due to their geographic proximity neighbouring the US – the world’s largest textile and apparel market, trading with the US has become a huge impact on the development of textile industries in this region. However, not everything is so rosy for the other North American neighbour, Canada, whose textile and apparel market has been growing slowly.

Canada textile and apparel market declines, while technical textile production rises

Canada’s textile and apparel industry has declined over the last decade, due to the decrease of domestic demand and the shift to manufacturing technical textiles, while imports of clothing, textile and footwear reached an all-time high in 2016, reaching CAD 2.1 billion, reported by Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada (ATSC).

Despite the slowdown in Canada’s textile and apparel industry, the country still holds its position as one of the leading technical textile producers in the world, and remains as the second largest (behind Mexico) trading partner for US exports of textiles and apparel.

Mexico’s textile and apparel industry still strong while uncertainty remains

Mexico’s textile and apparel industry accounts for 6% of the country’s total GDP and 20% of all manufacturing employment. The country’s textile and apparel export value has surpassed USD 7 billion per year since 2013, growing about 2.4% annually. Focusing on technology and innovation is one of the strategies for Mexican textile and apparel manufacturers to survive the competition from other developing nations.

The competitive labour costs and geographic proximity to the US have made Mexico one of the largest textile and apparel trading partners of the US. However, with Donald Trump’s policy to impose a higher duty on exports from Mexico, the future of Mexico’s textile and apparel industry may face some uncertainty.

Honduras sets to double its textile exports

Honduras’ exports of textiles and clothing totalled about USD 4.1 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow by 10% in 2017, reaching a total USD 4.5 billion. The country has recently launched ‘Honduras 2020’, which is a USD 3.4 billion project for boosting the country’s textile and apparel industry. The project aims to double Honduras’ apparel exports by the year of 2020.

The country’s location in the centre of the Americas gives Honduras’ textile industry a competitive advantage, while with the US withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Honduras could benefit from less competition with Asian textile suppliers when exporting textile and apparel products to the US.

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