SOMO bulletin on Issues in Garments and Textiles

The Multifiber Arrangement (MFA), sometimes referred to as the Multifiber Agreement, is a trade agreement adopted in 1973 by the United States, Canada, and Europe that set quotas for the amount of textiles and apparel that other countries could export to these countries. The MFA, which came into force in 1974, was seen as a protectionist measure intended to prevent the loss of textile and garment industry jobs in the US, Canada, and the EU to countries, mainly developing countries, where such goods could be more cheaply produced. It was first seen as a temporary measure, but was extended five times (Hyvärinen, 2000). However, by the end of this year, following a 10-year phase-out program governed by another agreement, the Agreement on Textile and Clothing (ATC), that came into force along with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement in 1995, the MFA system will come to an end. This means that in 2005, all WTO members will have unrestricted access to the European, US, and Canadian markets. read more less
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