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The future of the apparel and textile industries: prospects and choices for public and private actors

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  • Frederick H Abernathy
  • Anthony Volpe
  • David Weil

Abstract

The expectation that Chinese apparel and textile exports will swamp the US and EU retail markets now that international quotas on those products have been eliminated has fueled much of the discussion of the future of these industries. Although imports from China have surged since the elimination of quotas on 1 January 2005, this conventional wisdom masks important choices that remain for public and private policies over time. In particular, two factors will continue to have major effects on the location of apparel and textile production going forward. First, public-policy choices will continue to influence sourcing location; in particular, as they relate to tariffs and regional trade polices as well as to policies affecting the linkages between countries. Second, the lean-retailing model that now prevails requires apparel suppliers to replenish basic and fashion basic products on a weekly basis. As that retailing model became dominant in the 1990s, so too did the advantage of sourcing these apparel items closer to the US market so that products could be manufactured and delivered more rapidly from a smaller finished-goods inventory. Even though costs remain a driving factor, we show that proximity advantages for certain classes of products will continue in a postquota world as retailers raise the bar ever higher on the responsiveness and flexibility required of their suppliers.

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  • Frederick H Abernathy & Anthony Volpe & David Weil, 2006. "The future of the apparel and textile industries: prospects and choices for public and private actors," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(12), pages 2207-2232, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:38:y:2006:i:12:p:2207-2232
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    Cited by:

    1. Staritz, Cornelia, 2012. "Apparel exports - still a path for industrial development? Dynamics in apparel global value chains and implications for low-income countries," Working Papers 34, Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung (ÖFSE) / Austrian Foundation for Development Research.
    2. Vaagen, Hajnalka & Wallace, Stein W., 2008. "Product variety arising from hedging in the fashion supply chains," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 431-455, August.
    3. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Raveen Ekanayake, 2014. "Repositioning in the Global Apparel Value Chain in the Post-MFA Era: Strategic Issues and Evidence from Sri Lanka," Departmental Working Papers 2014-17, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    4. Cornelia Staritz, 2011. "Making the Cut? Low-Income Countries and the Global Clothing Value Chain in a Post-Quota and Post-Crisis World," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2547.
    5. Patsy Perry & Steve Wood & John Fernie, 2015. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Garment Sourcing Networks: Factory Management Perspectives on Ethical Trade in Sri Lanka," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 737-752, September.
    6. Pipkin, Seth, 2011. "Local Means in Value Chain Ends: Dynamics of Product and Social Upgrading in Apparel Manufacturing in Guatemala and Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2119-2131.
    7. Günseli Berik & Yana Van Der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "Options for enforcing labour standards: Lessons from Bangladesh And Cambodia," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 56-85.
    8. Plank, Leonhard & Rossi, Arianna & Staritz, Cornelia, 2012. "Workers and social upgrading in "fast fashion": The case of the apparel industry in Morocco and Romania," Working Papers 33, Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung (ÖFSE) / Austrian Foundation for Development Research.
    9. Truett, Lila J. & Truett, Dale B., 2010. "Globalization challenges for the Mexican textile industry," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 733-741, October.
    10. Pla-Barber, José & Puig, Francisco, 2009. "Is the influence of the industrial district on international activities being eroded by globalization?: Evidence from a traditional manufacturing industry," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 435-445, October.

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