In 2005 when the Multi-Fiber Agreement ends and quotas are removed for textile manufacture, many countries will be in trouble. One such country maybe Bangladesh whose business could be undercut by India and China. But it may not be developing countries that get affected, it could be United States too.
Meanwhile, here in the slowly beating heart of the remaining American textile industry, workers and owners of factories still operating along a stretch of Interstate 85 from Charlotte to Greensboro see the dawning of 2005 as a death sentence. More companies, they fear, will go bankrupt. More communities will wither like Kannapolis, and thousands more workers will be desperate for training, employment and health insurance.
In hopes of staving off the worst, politicians in the Southeast from both parties are taking advantage of the close outlook for the presidential election to win last-minute concessions from the White House that could slow the flood of imports from China.
Most experts expect that China, left unimpeded, will gain almost half the global apparel market. Its factories now make about 20 percent of the clothing and textiles sold in the United States; China is expected to capture as much as 70 percent of that market, potentially leading to the closing of half the surviving American mills and layoffs for tens of thousands more workers. [Related