With Brexit and President Trump contributing to global trade uncertainties, apparel manufacturing countries out of the direct line of either issue are increasingly appealing to UK and US buyers seeking contingency sourcing options.
While each country comes with its own challenges, they may still prove more appealing than those caught in the Brexit dichotomy or a tariff war that fluctuates with each tweet.
Demand in Central and South America has ramped up significantly in the last year, as apparel and accessory buyers look for better speed to market and a way to avoid trade related issues, like having big volumes in places like China in the middle of a commercial war.
Central and South America has stepped up efforts to accommodate increased demand, with Central America most attractive as the region enjoys a duty free relationship with the United States, which has remained more or less untouched by the Trump administration.
In Bangladesh, manufacturers are rallying around ways to deliver quicker turns and improved sustainability as value adds for brands and retailers sourcing there, with some factories achieving turnaround times as short as 20 days for knit.
Bangladesh has been plagued with a poor reputation since the Rana Plaza building collapse cast a light on poor working and building conditions. The country, with the support of some sourcing retailers and brands, has been working its way out of that shadow, while improving transparency for companies that may still be uneasy about doing business there.
Because you can’t change something once its in the system, and if someone puts in fraudulent information, you’re going to see who it was and when, analysts are increasingly suggesting that Blockchain may be the technology that gives Bangladesh the edge it needs in traceability and transparency and the country is looking into ways to incorporate it into supply chains.
India is another country that is well positioned to benefit from the trade war rollercoaster.
Sustainability is a driving factor in setting the country apart from other sourcing locales, particularly where cotton is concerned.
Though there’s been a challenge securing organic cotton seeds, and the weather has posed problems for the crop, the government is getting involved in developing sustainability as a competitive advantage for the country.
Man-made fibres are also proving to be a draw, with 200 leading textile buyers from 40 countries attending Source India next month.
Exhibitors from the entire value chain of the MMF textile sector will be displaying their products at Surat International Exhibition and Convention Centre (SIECC) at Sarsana from September 21. This global buyers-sellers meet will focus on showcasing Surat’s MMF value chain to international buyers and establish Surat as the leading centre of production of MMF and textile products in India.