(English subtitles available)
Slightly more than half of all imports of cotton singlets and other vests is destined for the Dutch market. The remainder is re-exported to other countries. Hardly any cotton vests are manufactured domestically. During the first eight months of 2018, around 110 million vests were available for domestic use (by both households and companies), which is just under the record level in 2006. The quantity has more than doubled over the past two decades.
In 2017, a total of 129 million vests entered the Dutch market; on average, nearly 8 per inhabitant. This was still 4 for every Dutch inhabitant in 1998.
|Imports destined for domestic use||Imports destined for re-exports|
Import price slightly higher than two decades ago
Last year, the Netherlands received 91 million vests directly from Bangladesh, which is therefore the main supplier. Other large producers of vests are China (supplied 21 million pieces), India and Turkey (both supplied 17 million pieces).
The average import price per vest exceeds 3 euros in 2018. With an import price of around 2 euros, vests manufactured in Bangladesh are considerably cheaper. Prices of vests from China (approx. 2.50 euros) are also lower than average, while vests from India were average-priced (around 5 euros) and those from Turkey more expensive than average (around 5 euros).
Vests from Bangladesh have increased by around 60 eurocents in price over the past two decades, whereas this year’s average import price is 20 eurocents higher relative to 1998.
|Bangladesh||Average import price||Other countries|
|*) first eight months of 2018|
China main producing supplier of clothes
Imports of other clothing items are also up this year: 7.6 billion euros in the first eight months, i.e. 8 percent up on the previous year. Over half of it is sent directly from Asia to the Netherlands.
In 2017, the Netherlands imported 1.9 billion euros worth of clothing in total from China, versus 1.0 billion euros from Bangladesh. Imports of vests and trousers from Bangladesh were higher than from China. Other garments, such as sweaters, dresses, shirts, costumes and coats, on the other hand, were more likely to arrive from China. Turkey ranks third as non-EU clothing supplier (0.6 billion euros), followed by India and Vietnam. Import values from China and Bangladesh have increased more than sixfold over the past twenty years. Imports from Vietnam have more than quadrupled, while those from Turkey and India have more or less doubled.
Aside from imports directly coming from Asia, clothing enters the Netherlands via other EU countries. Part of this clothing has been manufactured in Asia as well; CBS does not have any figures on this ‘indirect’ import from Asia.
Clothing industry much more important to Bangladesh than to China
Clothing exports constitute an important pillar of Bangladesh’s economy. For example, 82 percent of all Bangladesh exports consisted of clothing in 2016. This country has specialised in clothes manufacturing since 1980.
The clothing industry has smaller export shares in other larger clothing exporting countries, namely 8 percent in China, 7 percent in India, 11 percent in Turkey and 14 percent in Vietnam. Clothing exports have gradually become less important in these countries since the 1990s.
As regards Dutch imports from Bangladesh, clothing is leading as well. In 2017, 82 percent of total imports from Bangladesh consisted of clothing, far exceeding imports from China (5 percent), India (11 percent), Turkey (21 percent) and Vietnam (6 percent).
|Source: CBS, WTO|