#1 How is international trade associated with the prosperity of the U.S. textile and apparel industry today?
#2 Can trade policy bring textile and apparel manufacturing back to the United States? If so, how?
#3 The Trump Administration has decided to impose additional import tariffs to protect U.S. steel and aluminum production in the name of “national security.” Should U.S. textile mills and apparel manufacturers ask for similar trade protection too? Why or why not?
#4 The U.S. textile industry seems to be doing quite well— since 2009 its total value of output has risen 11%. However, why do you think the apparel factories in Los Angeles are struggling?
#5 Most U.S. apparel companies have already shifted their businesses to non-manufacturing activities such as design, branding, sourcing and retailing. Is it still meaningful to give so much attention to apparel manufacturing in the U.S.?
#6 According to the readings, the increasing minimum wage is a critical factor behind the closure of many garment factories in LA. Does it imply that we have to choose between paying garment workers poorly and keeping the factory open?
#7 Assume you are a sourcing manager for a major US fashion brand, how would you rank the following regarding importance when determining a sourcing destination: Speed to Market, Sourcing Cost, Risk of Compliance? Why would you rank them as such?
#8 Why do you think U.S. fashion brands and apparel retailers are sticking with sourcing from China, when there are less expensive products in other countries, such as Bangladesh and Vietnam?
#9 According to the study, some apparel retailers source from more than 10 or even 20 different countries or regions. What are the benefits of adopting such a diversified sourcing base? Is it necessary?
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The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), signed on March 8, 2018, is a new free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Once the CPTPP enters into force, it will be one of the largest free trade agreements in the world and will provide enhanced market access to key Asian markets. Below is the detailed tariff phaseout schedule for textile and apparel products by CPTPP members:
by Sheng Lu
Statistics from the Public Radio International (PRI) show that garment workers in many parts of the world earn much less than the national average. Of the twenty-one countries investigated by PRI, the monthly wage for garment workers range widely from $1,864 (USA) to $194 (Sri Lanka).
However, a higher wage level in absolute term does not necessarily mean a more decent pay. For example, while garment workers in the US apparently earn much more than their peers in other parts of the world, the wage level nevertheless was only 51 percent of the U.S. national average wage. Likewise, while garment workers in Honduras earn only $650 each month, this amount was approximately 107 percent of the national average wage in the country.
For more information about the wage level for garment workers around the world, please explore the Fair-fashion Quiz created by PRI.
Debate on Used clothing trade and AGOA
#1 What evidence can support the arguments that cutting off secondhand clothing imports from Africa will allow African nations to build their own textile industry? Likewise, what evidence can support the arguments that African countries overall benefit from importing used clothing from countries like the United States?
#2 Given the debate on used clothing trade on African nations, will you continue to donate used clothing? Why or why not?
#3 China holds a dominant position in textile and apparel production and exports because of their vast amounts of technology, workers, and resources. How do you think least developing countries like Africa will be able to keep up with such steep competition? Why or why not it is a wise decision for the United States to threaten to take away East African countries’ benefits under AGOA?
Social and economic impact of apparel trade
#4 Is factory employment in India a step in the right direction for the country’s gender equality? What effects, positive or negative, could such employment have in regards to gender issues?
#5 We keep arguing that globalization is negative because we are taking jobs away from U.S. workers. But by sending more work to factories in India, we’ve created jobs for these Indian women who, before working in the factories, were sheltered and only sent off into the world for arranged marriage. In this sense, is globalization still negative if we’re creating a sense of freedom and purpose for these women?
#6 As detailed in the article, the working conditions and treatment of workers is extremely unethical in some garment factories. Can globalization help this issue or hurt it more?
#7 How do you compare your life to the Indian girls in the article? And please just imagine: ten years later, what will the life of these Indian girls look like? How about yours?
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