China's Ministry of Finance today announced cuts on import duty rates for 26 products to address supply imbalances caused by the Sichuan earthquake. In addition to foodstuffs, medicines and some building supplies, the list includes a 38% cut in duties on cotton imports, which will be reduced for the four month period ending October 5. The ministry has indicated that the move is intended to make up for the cotton supply gap before new cotton came out this season.
That's very good of them, but this is absolutely immaterial for the apparel industry in the US. Yes, availability of raw materials is a big issue. But a bigger issue is getting migrant workers to the factories to actually cut, sew and assemble the materials. (Check out our past postings on this topic).
Too bad the Chinese government can't import and drop-ship workers.