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Trade Measures and Products Trend of Hong Kong Clothing Industry

Trade Measures Affecting Exports of Clothing
According to the ATC, textile quotas were eliminated among WTO members at the first day of 2005. However, resistance to quota removal spread in the US and EU. Particularly in the US, China-specific safeguards on 10 categories of clothing items from China were invoked.



The China-US agreement, effective from January 2006, governs the exports of a total of 21 groups involving 34 categories of Chinese textiles and clothing products to the US during 2006-2008. The China-EU agreement provides for an annual growth of 8-12.5% in 10 categories of Chinese textiles and clothing exports to the EU during 2005-2007.

In addition, both EU and US agreed to exercise restraint in invoking China-specific safeguard against Chinese textiles and clothing that are not covered in the agreements.

Product Trends
Formal Dressing: While casual wear accounts for the bulk of clothing sales, a general trend towards stricter corporate dress codes has led to a rising demand for formal dressing.

Teenager: One of the major driving forces of clothing market appears to be the teenagers in the coming years.

The number of teenagers in the US expects to increase from 31.6 million in 2001 to 34.1 million in 2010.

Silver Market: Ageing population becomes a common phenomenon in many developed countries in Europe as well as Japan and the US. Elderly people constitute a major market segment called 'silver market'.

Supported by savings, social security benefits and pensions, many elderly people have rather strong spending power. It is estimated that the age group of 65 year and above accounted for about 21% of Japan's consumption expenditure in 2000.

Plus-size Market: The plus-size market has been an area of growth for many years, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming future. It is estimated that 65 million women in the US wear size 14 or above. This group represents one-half of the US female population.

It is reported that some renowned brands have already responded to the trend by offering merchandise of larger size; these companies include Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

Easy-care Clothing: Clothing made of stain-resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are well received in the market. It is estimated that about a quarter of clothing is now made of easy-care fabrics, and its popularity is expected to continue in the next few years. While major clothing brands like Dockers and Liz Claiborne have already marketed extensively easy-care clothing, major hypermarkets, like Wal-Mart, also offer more merchandise of such quality.

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