31 December 2004 marks the end of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA), a thirty-year old quota system for textile and garment exports from developing countries to developed countries. The common speculations prior to the MFA expiration have been that soaring Chinese and Indian exports, declining trade for smaller countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, cheaper prices for consumers in the developed countries, further job loss of textile and garment workers in the developed countries.
This research aims to analyse, shortly before the fifth anniversary of the Post-MFA era, what have been “accomplished” and how many of the speculations have become reality. It would look into the following aspects: 1) the reality of outputs, trade and productivity growth, as well as the number of enterprises of China's textile and garment industry; 2) the employment trend and the Post-MFA era's influence on the livelihood of the millions Chinese workers who are employed in the textile and garment industry, if any measures, have been taken by the government, factory owners, foreign buyers or workers themselves, to ensure them a decent work environment and living, or if the appalling labour conditions, which is commonly found in the textile and garment industry continue to prevail; 3) how the textile and garment industry in China weathers the stormy global financial crisis and its priorities.
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