Do Developing Countries Lose From the MFA?
Irene Trela, John Whalley
This paper provides estimates of both national and global welfare costs of bilateral quotas on textiles and apparel using an applied general equilibrium model which covers bilateral quotas on exports of textiles and apparel negotiated between three major developed importing countries (the US, Canada and the EEC) and 34 supplying developing countries under the provisions of the Multifibre Arrangement applying in mid-1980s (MFA 111). Results using 1986 data clearly show that the vast majority of developing countries gain from MFA removal, with some gaining proportionately more than others. This suggests that despite foregone rent transfers, developing countries would receive gains by eliminating the MFA. In the central variant analysis, all developing countries gain by eliminating tariff and MFA restrictions because, contrary to popular belief, the developing countries (including Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan) are relatively small compared to developed countries even in apparel production. Rather than losing share to other developing countries under an MFA elimination, higher Income developing countries (like other developing countries) gain market share at the expense of reduced developed country production.
Published: "Global Effects of Developed Country Trade Restrictions on Textiles and Apparel", Economic Journal, vol. 100, December 1990, pp. 1190-1205