End of Textile and Garment quotas

This is the death cer­tifi­cate (or should be) of the forty year-old Mul­ti­fi­bre Agree­ment quan­ti­ta­tive restric­tions on imports of tex­tiles and gar­ments into Aus­tria, Cana­da, Fin­land, EC, Nor­way, USA (Swe­den and Japan no longer have quo­tas). bq. Pur­suant to Arti­cle 2 of the Agree­ment on Tex­tiles and Cloth­ing (ATC), I have the hon­our to noti­fy that on 1 Jan­u­ary 2005, the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty will inte­grate into GATT 1994 all tex­tile and cloth­ing prod­ucts to which the ATC applies, as list­ed in the Annex of the ATC, that were not inte­grat­ed dur­ing the first three stages of inte­gra­tion under the ATC. On this date, the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty will elim­i­nate all remain­ing restric­tions under the ATC on such prod­ucts, and thus the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty will have inte­grat­ed into GATT 1994 all prod­ucts list­ed in the Annex of the ATC. In the usu­al flow­ery terms, the EC Ambas­sador last week noti­fied WTO that the Com­mu­ni­ty will ‘rein­te­grate’ its remain­ing tex­tile and gar­ment quo­tas. That is, turn them into tariffs.

a chart showing leading exporters of textiles and garments

Chi­na’s over­whelm­ing assault on world tex­tile and gar­ment mar­kets means that this data—the lat­est avail­able from the WTO’s tex­tile moniotor­ing body—is now well out-of-date. Chi­na is still more dom­i­nant today than it was two years ago. Although it’s the end of the old MFA quo­tas, it’s unlike­ly sim­ple tar­iffs will replace them. ‘Tran­si­tion­al’ safeu­gard quo­tas, anti-dump­ing and the full panoply of con­tin­gent pro­tec­tion mea­sures are almost cer­tain­ly ranked and wait­ing in the vans, ready for a counter-attack in Jan­u­ary, 2005.

Workers in a Chittagong garment factory, Bangladesh 2004

Work­ers in a Chit­tagong gar­ment fac­to­ry, Bangladesh 2004

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