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and garment markets means that this data—the latest available from the WTO’s textile moniotoring body—is now well out-of-date.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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