Consumers could face higher prices for clothing and footwear if manufacturers move out of China to avoid trade war tariffs imposed by the US, the regional director of American apparel company VF Corporation warned.
If Washington were to carry out its threat of placing additional duties on a wide range of Chinese-made consumer goods including footwear and apparel, inflation across the industry would be likely as manufacturing costs in the region increased, said Asia Pacific managing director Gareth Brooks.
VF Corporation, which owns popular brands like The North Face, Vans, and Timberland, is doubling down on its fastest-growing market. It recently unveiled a new Asia Pacific head office on the doorstep of mainland China, where an ecosystem of long-term suppliers and manufacturers enables it to produce some of its high-quality outdoor gear. The opening is part of the company’s strategic five-year 2021 plan to divert more investment towards Asia with a specific focus on China, the company’s fastest growing market. VF’s China revenue jumped by an annual 22 per cent in the year ending 30 March, compared with 11 per cent growth for the Asia Pacific region overall, according to results announced on 22 May.