U.S. Apparel Imports From Caribbean Basin Countries and Mexico

NSIAD-98-59R: Published: Dec 3, 1997. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed trends in U.S. apparel imports from Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) countries over the last decade, focusing on the: (1) trends in the value of apparel imports from CBI countries and other countries; and (2) rates of growth of apparel imports from CBI countries and Mexico.

GAO noted that: (1) the data on trends in apparel imported to the United States under production-sharing provisions from 1987 to 1996 show that, while the performance of individual CBI countries varied, CBI countries combined and Mexico were clearly the dominant source of U.S. imports; (2) however, only Mexico gained in market share over this period; (3) with regard to the overall apparel import market during this period, data show that selected Asian countries (the aggregation of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan) continued to dominate U.S. apparel imports; (4) however, these countries have lost market share, while CBI countries and Mexico have gained market share; and (5) since 1994 when the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, Mexico has experienced faster rates of growth than CBI countries for apparel imports under production-sharing provisions and for overall apparel imports from the United States.

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