The U.S. Textile Industry

Ellen Israel Rosen

in Making Sweatshops

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233362
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928572 | DOI:
The U.S. Textile Industry

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This chapter shows how and why the textile and apparel industries took a protectionist stance—and how protectionism was defeated. A close examination of the record illustrates that U.S. textile producers in the 1950s had real reasons to fear the growth of low-wage competition. Hong Kong's low-cost textile exports were a major threat to the U.S. industry, in large part because of the lower wages the Hong Kong manufacturers paid. Women's wages in America have always been lower than those of their male counterparts. Kennedy's textile initiatives offered federal financing for industrial restructuring. U.S. textile productivity increased, and the industry shed more of its labor. The decline of trade protection is discussed. The need to deal with the new trade agenda in the postwar period motivated apparel producers to support trade protection.

Keywords: U.S. textile industry; protectionism; Hong Kong; trade protection; free trade; apparel producers; low-wage

Chapter.  7721 words. 

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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