Apparel Imports Work for America
The next time you’re changing your clothes—whether you’re going to the gym, a black-tie dinner, or bed—check your clothes’ labels. More likely than not, your clothes were imported. And if you happen to see a “Made in the USA” label, it’s likely that the garment’s thread, buttons, zippers, or even fabric were imported.
These imports are a good thing—not only for American families, who continue to struggle in this challenging economy yet still need affordable and quality clothing, but also for American jobs and the American economy. When you buy this “imported” clothing, you’re supporting an industry that employed 2.9 million people in the United States in 2011—people working in jobs across the value chain, from design to transportation to Customs clearance and compliance to warehousing and distribution to marketing and retail. These jobs are high-quality jobs, too, with average salaries ranging from $45,100/year for cargo and freight agents to $73,640/year for fashion designers to $124,138/year for longshore workers.
A recent study by Moongate Associates, supported by the TPP Apparel Coalition, showed exactly how well these apparel imports work for America. Moongate surveyed seven American apparel brands and retailers that design their apparel products in the United States and manufacture them overseas. The study found that, on average, the U.S. value-added as a percentage of the final retail price for 20 products sold by these companies was 70.3 percent. What does that mean? It means that, despite the fact that these products were physically manufactured overseas, American workers at all stages of the global value chain as mentioned above contributed to 70.3 percent of the garment’s total value.
And it’s worth noting that the seven companies participating in the study alone employ more than 350,000 people in the United States! That’s a lot of American jobs.
As we celebrate the second Imports Work for America Week from May 6-10, 2013, it’s important to remember that, while U.S. manufacturing jobs are certainly important to the economy, U.S. jobs relying on imports are equally important, too, including manufacturing jobs that rely on imported inputs. We hope you’ll join us and numerous other industry associations in celebrating the benefits of imports this week—and tell us how imports work for you!
About Imports Work for America Week
May 6-10, 2013, marks Imports Work for America Week. This initiative is led by a coalition of organizations, including the United States Fashion Industry Association (formerly the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel) representing tens of thousands of businesses employing millions of American workers across the United States who depend on access to imports to compete globally. Throughout the week, the coalition will highlight the following themes:
May 6th: Imports Work for U.S. Jobs
May 7th: Imports Work for American Families
May 8th: Imports Work for U.S. Manufacturing
May 9th: Imports Work for Economic Development
May 10th: Imports Work for America: A Policy Agenda
USFIA is proud to support this important initiative. For more information on how imports work for America, visit www.importswork.com or download the new study by the Trade Partnership, Imports Work for America.