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China stands ready to be clothing giant

On Dec. 31, the global clothing business embarks on its biggest change in 30 years, scrapping quotas that limit the amount of goods any country can sell to the United States and Europe. Once the quotas are eliminated, retailers such as Wal-Mart and L.L. Bean will be free to buy as many T-shirts, jeans and towels as they want from any factory in the world.

It sounds like a simple concept. But the end of quotas will rock $350 billion worth of global trade, sending tremors through communities from North Carolina to Bangladesh. The U.S. textile and apparel industry, which has lost 355,000 jobs since January 2001, expects to lose tens of thousands more of the remaining 691,000. MOREā€¦


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