Textile production and consumption is an increasingly global affair as production continues to shift to developing countries. Developing countries have seen an explosion in the growth of their textile exports, and for many countries textiles are a significant portion of their total exports. In response to increasing competition from low-value imports from developing countries, industry leaders in developed countries have made significant capital investments in order to increase productivity and move into advanced market sectors.
There are several trade agreements in place that impact world textile trade. The African Growth and Opportunities Act, Andean Trade Preference Act, and Trade Promotion Act are each designed to liberalize textile trade and provide equal market access to both developing and developed countries. Despite the potential economic and social benefits, the effectiveness of these trade policies is limited by special interest politics in the developed world. The presence of a political economy in developed countries can affect both the formation of and the adherence to international trade agreements; industry leaders can still appeal to the World Trade Organization or their Trade Representative to protect domestic industry.