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Imports continue dramatic increases

U.S. imports of outdoor furniture rose 13%, growing to more than $1.4 billion in 2005 compared with nearly $1.3 billion in 2004, according to data from the U.S. Customs Service, U.S. International Trade Commission and Casual Living market research.

With a 67% share, China again dominated as the leading source country with about $961 million, up 17% from nearly $823 million in 2004 and reflecting American vendors who operate factories in China and retailers who outsource directly. Cast aluminum and other metal outdoor seating fueled much of the Chinese growth while numbers of umbrellas and plastic furniture also increased.

Although Canada increased 11% to nearly $112 million from just over $100 million in 2004, the North American neighboring country remained a distant second to China as an import source.

Indonesia ranked third as an import source, showing growth in rattan, bamboo, osier (willow) and cane seats as well as teak chairs while umbrellas and rattan household furniture declined. The Philippines were ranked fourth, reflecting gains in cane, osier and bamboo furniture but losses in rattan products. Vietnam made dramatic gains in the rattan furniture category. Italy, Thailand and Hong Kong were among other source countries with increased revenues from U.S. imports while Taiwan, Mexico and Israel declined.

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