September 15, 2006
September 15, 2006 - Inexpensive imports from China are devastating South Africa's once-prosperous textile industry.
At its peak in the 1990s, BMD Textiles Ltd. had 2,000 employees. Today, its work force is down to 200. South African textile workers now total about 50,000, down from 120,000 a decade ago.
The deterioration of South Africa's textile industry, while far from unique, underlines how China's mounting industrial prowess is hurting developing and developed countries.
In 2005, quotas restraining Chinese exports to Europe and the United States were lifted, leading to an explosion of Chinese textile imports just when South Africa's currency strengthened. The surging Chinese textile industry grabbed market share in the United States and European markets and began to flood South Africa. Chinese textile imports to South Africa have soared to 6.6 billion rand ($913 million) in 2005 from 50 million rand in 2003, the textile federations says.
Reprinted in part from The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 6, 2006