The Unraveling of the Multi Fiber Arrangement, 1981: An Examination of International Regime Change

Vinod K. Aggarwal

International Organization, 1981

Trade in textile and apparel products illustrates many of the conflicts that arise from a shifting international division of labor. Developed countries have employed a wide array of measures to protect their industries. Textile and apparel products account for approximately one-third of less developed countries’ (LDCs) manufactured exports overall and, in some countries, more than one-half. Growing protection stunts the LDC’s efforts to industrialize and finance their international debt through the export of manufactures. And protectionist policies, aside from causing economic inefficiencies, have high political costs. Disputes have arisen between North and South, among the Northern countries, and among Southern countries in negotiations over market shares in textile and apparel trade.

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