Hong Kong and mainland textile-makers have been warned they are losing their grip on the United States textile market. A report by the Hong Kong Government and Kurt Salmon Associates said improved technology, preferential trading arrangements and closer links to the US were enabling Mexican and Caribbean producers to boost their market share. Increased demand from US buyers for fast delivery of products was posing problems for Asian manufacturers because of their long shipping times. Tariff reform and preferential market access among members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) had also eroded Asian cost competitiveness. The report, Supply Chain Management in Global Trade, reveals Caribbean and Central American share of the US garment industry grew from 6 per cent to 14 per cent in the five years to 1996. In the same period, Hong Kong and China's share slipped from 31 per cent to 24 per cent. Mexico has replaced the mainland as the leading supplier of textiles and apparel to the US. The report identifies three trade trends: US companies increasingly sourcing from the Caribbean and Latin America; Europe making use of low-cost labour in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa; and the industrialised nations of Asia - such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - sourcing production from cheaper nations such as Indonesia and Vietnam. Rapidly changing fashion trends, just-in-time delivery and increased automation were placing more pressure on suppliers to accelerate the business cycle, and making closer Mexican suppliers more attractive.