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The impact of multi-fibre agreement phase-out on Sub-Saharan Africa’s textiles and clothing exports

Ayoki, Milton (2017): The impact of multi-fibre agreement phase-out on Sub-Saharan Africa’s textiles and clothing exports.

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Abstract

This paper analyses exports of textiles and clothing (T&C) from Sub-Saharan African countries in the decade leading to and after a phase out of the Agreement on Textile and Clothing (ATC) (Multi-fibre Agreement restrictions on T&C export)—from 1990s to 2016 using WTO and World Bank data sets—to ascertain the initial effects of the end of quotas and other restrictions on global trade in textile and clothing. Our results show a fall in exports of African countries in the aftermath of the ATC, and a simultaneous and gradual shift of increasing T&C exports by Asian countries (Asia & Pacific) into African markets at a much faster rate than their increase into the U.S. and EU markets. To the U.S, the Asian countries continue to export post-ATC at about the same levels of textile and clothing that they did before ATC phase out. Taken together, there is no clear evidence that the termination of the ATC has been a major contributing factor to the decline of Sub-Saharan Africa’s T&C exports. The utilisation of safeguard mechanisms by the U.S. and the EU and the continued option to maintain tariffs and other non-tariff barriers make it difficult to trace the effects of the end of ATC, but also raise important issues that could be considered in the WTO negotiations on rules: trade remedies (safeguard and countervailing measures) since the end of ATC did not bring about “free trade” for clothing and textiles.

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