Int. J. of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development   »   2011 Vol.4, No.1/2/3



Title: Upgrading and restructuring in the global apparel value chain: why China and Asia are outperforming Mexico and Central America


Author: Stacey Frederick, Gary Gereffi


Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, Duke University, 2024 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
Department of Sociology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0088, USA


Abstract: This article uses the global value chain approach to analyse the upgrading trajectories of leading apparel exporters adapting to the end of textile and apparel quotas and the economic recession. These events have been coupled by the consolidation and reconfiguration of global supply chains. China has been the big winner while other Asian suppliers are expanding their roles, largely at the expense of regional suppliers. One key to Asia's competitive success vis-a-vis Mexico and Central America has been end market diversification. Regional trade agreements (NAFTA; DR-CAFTA) have provided the latter with preferential access to the US market and ties to brand manufacturers, but they also created a reliance on US exports and have hindered suppliers from developing regional linkages into textile production, apparel design and branding. Growing apparel demand in emerging Asian economies and a regionally integrated production network has allowed Chinese apparel suppliers to upgrade and expand global market share.


Keywords: economic crisis; apparel quotas; Multi-Fibre Arrangement; MFA; NAFTA; CAFTA; export diversification; production network; China; Mexico; USA; United States; upgrading; restructuring; global value chains; apparel value chains; Asia; Central America; apparel industry; garment industry; clothing industry; regional trade agreements; textile production; apparel design; branding.


DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2011.041900


Int. J. of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2011 Vol.4, No.1/2/3, pp.67 - 95


Available online: 15 Aug 2011



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