A little more than 27 months remain until the phaseout of all quotas on textiles and apparel among the 144 member nations of the World Trade Organization, opening the gates to an expected surge in apparel exports from developing economies, particularly China. Sourcing executives are racing to position themselves for the shifts in trade patterns expected to result from that event. While many predict that major industrialized nations, including the U.S., Japan and the European Union countries, will continue to see their manufacturing industries dwindle, a vital question is how key production countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka and Mexico will handle the changes.

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