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Making SweatshopsThe Globalization of the U.S. Apparel Industry$
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Ellen IsraelRosen

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233362

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233362.001.0001

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The U.S. Textile Industry

The U.S. Textile Industry

Responses to Free Trade

(p.77) 5 The U.S. Textile Industry
Making Sweatshops

Ellen Israel Rosen

University of California Press

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

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