While Canada faces trade frictions with the US, its textile industry is gaining a boost from Chinese partners. Hundreds of Chinese enterprises have joined the Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada (ATSC).
China is the largest source-garment exporter for multinational brands in the world, ranging from high-street brands such as Gap, Zara to luxury names, such as Hugo Boss and Armani. Clients of Chinese companies also include hypermarkets like Carrefour, Tesco and Walmart.
China’s garment and textile sector have exported dramatically increased products over the last decade; however, the country’s share in the world trade value has declined in the past two years, according to Cao Jiachang, chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles (CCCT).
The last 15 years have seen an annual increase of about 20 percent in China’s outbound investment in the textile and garment industry, however, investment in the sector plunged by 55 percent in 2017.
Cao pointed out that, Chinese companies are changing their strategies for export and portfolio structure.
China’s top brands are looking for representatives in Canada to import and distribute their products in Canadian market, which renders an unprecedented opportunity. Chinese investment in the textile and apparel sector will bring win-win solutions for enterprises in both countries.
In 2017, China exported to Canada $4.26 billion worth of textile and garment, a year-on-year increase of 12.97 percent; while Canada’s exports to China reached $28.27 million, an increase of 8.72 percent year-on-year.
Amid an escalating trade dispute between China and the US, China takes a positive stance to safeguard trade liberalism and would like to promote talks on free trade with Canada and other countries, said Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada.
Maybe China has passed its zenith, but it is still an indispensable player as a source country, especially for medium-to-high end items, said Clay E. Hickson, vice-president at Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.
A free trade agreement (FTA) will serve the interest of both China and Canada, especially against the current backdrop of globalization and trade tensions among economies, and diversification is the strategy the two countries choose, Lu said at an ATSC seminar. He also said the two sides could further deepen cooperation under the framework of the FTA.
Meanwhile, Canada has strength in such fields as agriculture, mining and clean technology, which are appealing to Chinese market.
“It would be fair to say that China has become the fourth player to NAFTA,” said Prescott, CEO of JP Communications, ATSC producer.