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Editorial: US election trumps Brexitimpact on the textile and apparel industry?
published in Issue 183, December 2016
The unexpected election of Donald Trump as the president of the USA has caused shocks to the world's financial and political systems and has made the future hard to predict – not least the future of the global textile and apparel industry. There are uncanny parallels between the policies Mr Trump espouses and those favoured by the so-called Brexiteers in the UK, and in both cases the driving forces are growing nationalistic sentiments, populism and isolationist tendencies. Mr Trump favours "reshoring" in order to bring jobs back to the USA by renegotiating trade agreements and raising tariffs on imports – particularly those from China. However, this could trigger trade wars. Also, he has declared that he will curb immigration from Mexico and even send Mexicans "home". And yet US textile and apparel industry executives and consultants have said that the US reshoring movement has benefited considerably from the availability of Mexican workers and the skills and industry experience they bring with them. In the final presidential debate, Mr Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) – whose signatories are Canada, Mexico and the USA – as "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country" and this is causing alarm in the Mexican textile and apparel industry. Mr Trump has also threatened to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – an agreement which has taken years of painstaking negotiations to reach the stage it has reached today. In this report, Robin Anson discusses the effects of Mr Trump's election on the US textile and apparel industry as well as the textile and apparel industries in other countries. He also highlights the parallels between the Brexit vote and Mr Trump's election and what this could mean for the future.
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