EU countries buying more clothing from Asia

In 2015, EU-28 imports of clothing stood at a total value of 81 billion euros. Over 77 percent came from Asia. Clothing imports from Asia have nearly doubled over the past decade, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports.

In the period 2005 to 2015, clothing imports into the EU grew by 32 billion euros. Asian countries contributed 30 billion euros to this growth, with China and Bangladesh combined accounting for three-quarters. Having production of clothing take place in Asia is attractive given the relatively low production costs and the great concentration of manufacturing companies.

Main countries of origin for EU clothing imports

Clothing exports to EU of major economic importance to Asia

Exports of clothing to the EU are of vital economic importance to a number of Asian countries. This is true in particular for Bangladesh, where these garment exports represented nearly half of the total export value in 2015. For Cambodia, the share is almost 30 percent of total exports. In Sri Lanka and Pakistan, too, demand for clothing from the EU drives most of the exports.
Clothing exports to EU as a percentage of total exports, 2015

Five thousand Dutch importers of Asian apparel

In 2015, more than five thousand Dutch companies imported textile clothing from Asia at a total value of approximately 7.2 billion euros. On top of that, the Netherlands imported 5.8 billion euros worth of clothing from countries outside of Asia. Part of these imports represent transit trade, while clothing from Asia also reaches the Netherlands via other European countries.

Clothing cheaper than ten years ago

In 2015, Dutch consumers paid a little less for garments than ten years ago. Prices were never lower over the past decade; they declined by nearly 4 percent over two years’ time. The bulk of all clothing sold in Dutch shops is made in Asia and can be sold at a low price.
Consumer price index for textile clothing