The implications of the elimination of the multi-fibre arrangement for small remote island economies: A network analysis
This paper explores the topological structure of the network of trade in textiles and clothing (T&C) that were governed by the multi-fibre arrangement (MFA)—a quantitative restriction on developing countries’ exports to developed countries. Trade relations between small remote island economies (SRIEs) and major world exporters are investigated. Initially, many SRIEs benefited because their MFA quotas were not binding and they had unprecedented access to lucrative developed markets. However, they were subsequently disadvantaged by the elimination of the quota system. Network analysis reveals that the MFA influenced the geography of T&C manufacturing and altered the pattern of network formation. The evolution of network statistics shows that SRIEs became more interconnected among themselves during the post-MFA period suggesting an increased preference to trade with closer partners. The network of textiles products is less dense and more stable than that of clothing. On a global stance, post-MFA trade declined but there is evidence of trade convergence.
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