An international agreement, started in 1973 and renewed several times, between countries exporting and importing textiles and clothing. MFA has restricted exports of these products from less developed countries (LDCs) to the industrialized countries. This was done to slow down declines in employment in the textile industries in importing countries, and it has substantially increased the cost of clothing in the advanced countries. The MFA is contrary to the guiding principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization. The textile industry has been made an exception through protectionist pressure mainly because the industry combines high labour intensity and relatively simple technology, and has been one of the main entry routes to industrialization in LDCs, which have a comparative advantage in this area. The MFA expired on 1 January 2005.