Export to the USA and Sourcing of Korean Apparel Industry

한국 의류산업의 대미(對美) 수출 현황과 소싱 특성

  • Baek, Young-Ha (The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) ;
  • Park, Jae-Ok (Dept. of Clothing & Textiles, Hanyang University)
  • Published : 2008.03.31


In recent years, Korea's apparel exports to the USA have faced a great threat, as the trade environment around the world has changed continually. The purpose of this study is to analyze the competitive position of Korean apparel exports to the USA, and to enhance export competitiveness by applying to offshore sourcing. The trade data of the Office of Textiles and Apparel(OTEXA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce were selected for inquiry about export competitiveness of apparel products made in Korea. In addition, we targeted members of the Korea Apparel Industry Association among the 500 exporters of clothing items in "The Import and Export Textile Product 2003." A total 70 sheets were analyzed. The results of this study were as follows: 1) Korean apparel exports to USA have decreased by 20-35 percent per year since 2005 under the Free Trade Area, showing that Korean apparel industries have not adapted to the new trade environment. Although Korean apparel exports to USA have indicated a trade surplus from now on, Korean apparel industries should find new ways to overcome this situation, diminishing exports and increasing imports. 2) Korean apparel companies selected more offshore sourcing than domestic sourcing. Also, as Korean apparel companies manufactured apparel products offshore, foreign subcontracting outranked manufacturing in their own foreign plants. When they chose foreign countries to source, they turned mainly to China and Vietnam. Also, they considered the target country's manufacturing price, labor stability, apparel products, quality, lead time, and so on. In order to increase apparel exports, Korean apparel industries should focus more on developing competitively new apparel products, improving the ability of sourcing management, and establishing on-the-spot agencies.


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