Post-Multifibre Arrangement Analysis of the Textile and Garment Sectors in Kenya
Kamau, Njuguna Paul
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The textile and clothing industry represents a vital source of income for developing countries. World trade in textiles and clothing constitutes almost US$400bn – nearly 10 per cent of all trade in manufactured goods. A major proportion of these exports comes from developing countries, including more than 70 per cent of all apparel exports, making the sector a vital source of employment, income and foreign exchange revenues. Globally, tens of millions of people work in textiles and clothing, more than two-thirds of whom are located in Asia (Oxfam 2004, Appelbaum 2004). It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of all workers in the garment industr y are women . Until the end of 2004, the world’s largest importers of textiles and clothing protected their markets through a restrictive system of Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) import quotas, combined with high tariffs. Further, the restrictions curtailed the ability of developing countries to generate sorely needed employment opportunities in these labour-intensive sectors (Kathuria et al.2001; Smith 1996). To partly offset this restrictive regime, developed countries designed mechanisms to allow selected countries to access their markets under preferential arrangements. Such regimes include the US’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the European Union’ s African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP-EU) under the Lomé Convention and Cotonou Agreement, and the Everything-But-Arms (EBA), among others.