Global Production

Global Production: The Apparel Industry in the Pacific Rim

Edna Bonacich
Lucie Cheng
Norma Chinchilla
Nora Hamilton
Paul Ong
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: Temple University Press
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  • Book Info
    Global Production
    Book Description:

    "An excellent and often impressive book that advances our understanding of the internationalization of production and the ways in which it is actually implemented in specific sites." --Saskia Sassen, Department of Urban Planning, Columbia University This collection of original essays examines the social and political consequences of the globalization of the apparel industry in Asia, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States. The contributors analyze the countries' trade policies, the apparel industry's network of capital ad labor, working conditions in garment factories, and the role of workers, especially women. Written by scholars of various nationalities and from different disciplines, this volume provides a look at the industry from the perspective of participants within each country and illustrates a general trend toward the internationalization of production and global economic restructuring. "[C]ontains an impressive array of good case studies on a variety of regions and countries, with special focus on how the United States apparel industry relates to globalization in each case." --Journal of American Ethnic History

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0110-6
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    • Chapter 1 The Garment Industry in the Restructuring Global Economy
      (pp. 3-18)
      Edna Bonacich, Lucie Cheng, Norma Chinchilla, Nora Hamilton and Paul Ong

      The apparel industry is one of the most globalized industries in the world. Some garment firms, such as Liz Claiborne, have their goods produced simultaneously in as many as forty countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the People’s Republic of China, Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, Costa Rica, Portugal, Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Hungary. Not all apparel firms have such an extensive scope, but nevertheless, we are witnessing the tremendous growth of production by apparel firms (including both manufacturers and retailers) in countries allover the world, and a concomitant rise in global trade.

      This volume focuses...

  5. I Patterns and Linkages
    • Chapter 2 Mapping a Global Industry: Apparel Production in the Pacific Rim Triangle
      (pp. 21-41)
      Edna Bonacich and David V. Waller

      The Pacific Rim region, defined here to comprise Asia, the United States, and the Caribbean region (including Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands), represents an important triangle for apparel production. In contrast to apparel production in Europe, which is aimed primarily at the European market, production in the Pacific Rim is truly global, drawing all three regions into complex and constantly evolving relationships. The boundedness of this triangle is far from absolute, however, as transnational apparel and retailing companies trade and produce allover the world. In isolating the Pacific Rim region, we are dealing with a relatively coherent subsystem...

    • Chapter 3 Power and Profits in the Apparel Commodity Chain
      (pp. 42-62)
      Richard P. Appelbaum and Gary Gereffi

      The current restructuring of the global economy, in which commodity production and sales are spatially dispersed and integrated to an unprecedented degree, requires a reexamination of the ways in which surplus is extracted. In the traditional world-systems approach, core economic activities—defined as those in which a surplus is realized—were generally presumed to be located in core national economies. Similarly, peripheral economic activities—from which the surplus is extracted—were regarded as constituting peripheral national economies. Semiperipheral economic activities (and hence semiperipheral national economies) were thought to occupy an intermediate position, one from which surplus is both extracted (by...

    • Chapter 4 U.S. Retailers and Asian Garment Production
      (pp. 63-79)
      Lucie Cheng and Gary Gereffi

      Beginning in the 1980s, changes in demography and lifestyles led the American mass market to fragment into distinct, if overlapping, constituencies. This development has set in motion a transformation of the retail institution. The traditional department stores and mass merchandisers have lost their hegemonic position, while a wide variety of specialty stores and large-volume discount chains has gained in importance. Measured by their overall sales, the discount chains of Wal-Mart and Kmart surpassed Sears as the largest U.S. retailers in 1991, and the specialty stores have the highest ratio of sales per square footage of any U.S. retail establishmlents (Gereffi...

    • Chapter 5 The Role of U.S. Apparel Manufacturers in the Globalization of the Industry in the Pacific Rim
      (pp. 80-102)
      Edna Bonacich and David V. Waller

      The massive growth of apparel imports to the United States is often interpreted as resulting from the actions of firms and governments in other countries seeking to develop their U.S.-targeted export industries (Arpan, de la Torre, and Toyne 1982; Cline 1990; Ghadar, Davidson, and Feigenoff 1987; Hamilton 1990). Though there is certainly some truth to this interpretation, it overlooks the primary role that U.S. firms have played in developing imports. In the apparel industry, both retailers and manufacturers engage in importing. U.S. retailers are the primary importers in this industry, but in this chapter we focus on the role played...

  6. II Asia
    • Chapter 6 The Development Process of the Hong Kong Garment Industry: A Mature Industry in a Newly Industrialized Economy
      (pp. 105-125)
      Ho-Fuk Lau and Chi-Fai Chan

      Apparel is a mature product, meaning it has undergone various evolutionary stages. According to our study in 1991, the international movement of garment manufacture follows a trickle-down pattern—the flow of production has followed distinct stages in what we call a product’s “life cycle,” and “trickles down” from country to country according to varying levels of economic development.¹ We have labeled this theoretical framework “product life cycle and international production” and have used it to analyze Hong Kong’s garment industry.

      Globalization in manufacturing has become a world trend for many industries, particularly among those industries in the “maturity” stage of...

    • Chapter 7 The Globalization of Taiwan’s Garment Industry
      (pp. 126-146)
      Gary Gereffi and Mei-Lin Pan

      Since embarking on the path of export-oriented industrialization in the mid-1960s, Taiwan has been firmly entrenched as one of the leading textile and apparel exporters in the Pacific Rim. Currently, Taiwan ranks behind Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China and before South Korea among the “Big Four” Asian exporters; the Big Four accounted for more than half of U.S. apparel imports from the Pacific Rim by volume and nearly three-fifths by value in 1991 (see Chapter 2). Taiwan’s role in the global garment industry is changing dramatically, however. Like Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong, Taiwan has confronted rising...

    • Chapter 8 The Korean Garment Industry: From Authoritarian Patriarchism to Industrial Paternalism
      (pp. 147-161)
      Seung Hoon Lee and Ho Keun Song

      Because developing countries typically lack sophisticated technologies and great reserves of capital, they must choose export industries strategically. Many countries have chosen the apparel industry as an entree into the global economy, because it is mainly labor intensive, with low-skilled and low-paid jobs. The export market provides an excellent opportunity, as long as the comparative advantage of low costs is maintained. The garment-exporting sector, nearly nonexistent before the 1950s, has grown rapidly in several developing countries as a major source of foreign-exchange earnings, employment, and economic growth.

      The apparel industry’s ability to generate capital accumulation, however, is another question. Since...

    • Chapter 9 The Philippine Garment Industry
      (pp. 162-179)
      Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo

      The garment sector in the Philippines “started as a basically subcontracting, reexporting industry where raw materials are shipped from abroad for processing (cutting, embroidery, sewing, etc.) and then reexported. Part of the production process goes into the factory, but the bulk is subcontracted to cottage-type producers” (Philippine Trade and Development1975,26). Since the late nineteenth century, and particularly since the early twentieth-century introduction of export-oriented embroidery manufacturing under U.S. colonial rule, the majority of garment-industry workers (in the traditional garmentproducing areas of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Batangas) have been Filipino women and children Gimenez 1986,7–10). By 1919 embroidery had...

    • Chapter 10 Thailand in the Pacific Rim Garment Industry
      (pp. 180-196)
      Richard F. Doner and Ansil Ramsay

      Thailand has enjoyed one of the most rapid economic growth rates in the world. Between 1965 and 1989 only six other developing countries had higher annual growth rates of GNP per capita (World Bank 1991,202–3). One of the major contributors to this growth has been the garment industry. From small beginnings in the late 1960s, it became Thailand’s largest export earner between 1986 and 1990.¹ Even more impressive, Thailand now ranks among the world’s top fifteen garment-exporting countries (GATT 1990, 66). Thailand is one of a handful of less-developed countries that has been able to break into the ranks...

    • Chapter 11 The Garment Industry in Singapore: Clothes for the Emperor
      (pp. 197-214)
      Sara U. Douglas, Stephen A. Douglas and Thomas J. Finn

      The rulers of modern Singapore inherited a tradition of entrepôt trade, a well-developed port, and a highly industrious population. This combination of assets led Singapore to export-oriented industrialization before any other country in the region (Ariff and Hill 1985). Not surprisingly, textile and apparel manufacture was a contributor to this process. The more crucial contriblltor, described below, has been an extraordinary set of state agencies. These agencies, operating in a context of continuous political leadership and highly centralized policymaking, are part of a process that ensures that in Singapore clothes (and in fact all industrial output) are indeed “for the...

  7. III Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
    • Chapter 12 The Apparel Maquiladora Industry at the Mexican Border
      (pp. 217-229)
      Jorge Carrillo V.

      The apparel industry played a leading role in Mexico’s export maquiladora industry from the early 1970s until 1979, when theAcuerdo Multifibras(Multifiber Arrangement) was extended to Mexico. Protectionist restrictions were imposed for certain production processes (such as the cutting of fabrics, which was to take place only in the United States), effectively curtailing the industry’s growth. The importance of this agreement was demonstrated by the high percentage of exports subjected to tariffs: 71 percent of the Mexican garment industry’s exports to the United States were subjected to the rates fixed by theConvenio Bilateral Textil(Bilateral Textile Agreement) of...

    • Chapter 13 Industrial Organization and Mexico—U.S. Free Trade: Evidence from the Mexican Garment Industry
      (pp. 230-246)
      Gordon H. Hanson

      A North American free trade agreement represents the final step in Mexico’s transition from import-substitution industrialization to export-led growth. Mexico’s new development strategy assumes that low wages will allow firms to penetrate world markets. The country is counting on labor-intensive activities such as garment manufacturing for export success. In the garment industry, as in any industry, competitiveness is not determined by factor prices alone. Wages matter most in garment assembly, a low-skill, labor-intensive activity. But low wages are not enough to compete in world markets; garment firms need designs that reflect current fashion trends and marketing channels that provide linkages...

    • Chapter 14 Export Manufacturing, State Policy, and Women Workers in the Dominican Republic
      (pp. 247-267)
      Helen I. Safa

      Since the early 1980s export-led development strategies have become increasingly popular in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in the manufacturing sector. Although the Border Industrialization Program in Mexico is the best known and most important in terms of exports to the United States, other countries also have turned to export as a way of earning foreign capital and alleviating the current debt crisis, sometimes spurred by the neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund.

      In the smaller countries of Central America and the Caribbean, exports have been the primary development strategy since incorporation into the world economy in colonial...

    • Chapter 15 The Maquila Revolution in Guatemala
      (pp. 268-286)
      Kurt Petersen

      In 1984 few Guatemalans were familiar with the termmaquila.¹ The Guatemalan Congress had recently passed legislation to lure foreign and domestic investment in this export-assembly industry, also known asoutsourcinganddrawback.But only the handful of young, ambitious exporters who fervently lobbied for the bill foresaw that within a decade the maquila industry would be the fastest-growing sector of the Guatemalan economy. When the law was passed, about six factories, all assembling apparel for export, employed fewer than two thousand workers. In a mere eight years this fledging industry expanded more than twenty-five times. By 1993 more than...

    • Chapter 16 The Garment Industry and Economic Restructuring in Mexico and Central America
      (pp. 287-306)
      Norma Chinchilla and Nora Hamilton

      The rapid acceleration of global economic integration and Latin America’s profound economic crisis were two factors contributing to economic restructuring in Latin America during the 1980s. Economies characterized by production predominantly oriented to domestic (and, in the case of Central America, regional) markets shifted to production oriented to international markets. The garment industry has been profoundly affected by the international integration of production and the economic restructuring in individual countries.

      The garment industry in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean is an important link in a three-cornered relationship among the United States, Asia, and Latin America. The region’s proximity to...

  8. IV The United States
    • Chapter 17 Labor Squeeze and Ethnic/Racial Recomposition in the U.S. Apparel Industry
      (pp. 309-327)
      Evelyn Blumenberg and Paul Ong

      Since the late 1960s the globalization of apparel production has reshaped the spatial landscape of the U.S. garment industry as well as the composition of its labor force. Foreign products have entered the United States and have captured a growing share of the U.S. apparel market by undercutting U.S. prices. Thousands of domestic jobs have disappeared as U.S. garment firms have found themselves unable to match their foreign competitors.

      In a process analogous to the international search for low-wage labor, some U.S. firms have established operations in regions of the United States with abundant supplies of nonwhite workers. New sources...

    • Chapter 18 Recent Manufacturing Changes in the U.S. Apparel Industry: The Case of North Carolina
      (pp. 328-344)
      Ian M. Taplin

      Competitive pressures in an increasingly globalized marketplace are proving to be problematic for apparel production in North Carolina. As discussed in other chapters in this volume, since the late 1960s the U.S. apparel industry has faced intensified competition from a host of low-cost manufacturers in newly industrialized countries (NICs). Capitalizing on an abundant supply of low-wage labor, production in these countries has been aimed at the mass apparel market in the United States—precisely the segment that is most vulnerable to cost fluctuations.

      Logically, one might assume that much of the domestic production of mass-market apparel goods would move overseas...

    • Chapter 19 Immigrant Enterprise and Labor in the Los Angeles Garment Industry
      (pp. 345-362)
      James Loucky, Maria Soldatenko, Gregory Scott and Edna Bonacich

      The increasing globalization of the U.S. apparel industry is most visible in expansion of overseas assembly and production of garments for import back to the United States. In a more subtle concomitant movement, the garment industry in the United States has become reliant on immigrant labor, oftentimes from the very countries where U.S. firms are active. Immigrants from Latin America and Asia now predominate in the garment sectors of many U.S. cities. In New York, many Chinese and Dominicans are employed, while Chinese and other Asians prevail in San Francisco (Waldinger 1986). In Los Angeles, Mexican women have long been...

  9. Conclusion
    • Chapter 20 The Garment Industry, National Development, and Labor Organizing
      (pp. 365-374)
      Edna Bonacich, Lucie Cheng, Norma Chinchilla, Nora Hamilton and Paul Ong

      This chapter draws on the previous chapters as well as on discussions at the Conference on the Globalization of the Garment Industry in the Pacific Rim.

      The garment industry has been a factor in the economic development of several countries, particularly those of East Asia. Before we discuss the industry’s role in development, however, it is important to distinguish among different meanings ofdevelopment.Development is often defined in terms of macroeconomic indicators, such as rate of growth, level of investment, and increase in exports. It can also be defined in normative terms that encompass not only growth but the...

  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 375-376)
  11. Index
    (pp. 377-390)