NEW YORK — Months of unrest that followed a disputed presidential election on Madagascar have left the island nation’s apparel industry in disarray. After seeing its imports to the U.S. rise 62.4 percent last year — as a result of it gaining duty- and quota-free status through the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade law — the growth rate of its shipments to the U.S. has slowed sharply in 2002.

Sources estimated that about 80,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 garment workers have lost their jobs since the disputed December presidential election that began the turmoil. Workers in the capital city of Antananarivo were hardest hit, as supporters of former president Didier Ratsiraka — who lost the election but for months refused to cede power — blocked the city that is home to former mayor and now-Madagascan-president Marc Ravalomanana.

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