The rise and fall of (Chinese) African apparel exports

Lorenzo Rotunno, Pierre-Louis Vézina (Lead / Corresponding author), Zheng Wang

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    During the final years of the Multifiber Agreement (2001–2005) the US imposed quotas on Chinese apparel while it gave African apparel duty- and quota-free access. We argue that the combination of these policies led to a rapid but ephemeral rise of African exports that can be explained in part by ethnic-Chinese firms using Africa as a quota-hopping export platform. We first provide a large body of anecdotal evidence on the ethnic-Chinese apparel wave in Africa. Second, we show that Chinese exports to Africa predict US imports from the same countries and in the same apparel categories but only where transhipment incentives are present, i.e. for products facing US quotas and in countries with preferential access to the US unconstrained by rules of origin. Our estimates indicate that direct transhipment may account for around 22% of Africa's apparel exports during 2001–2008.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)152-163
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Development Economics
    Early online date15 Aug 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


    • Transhipment
    • AGOA
    • Multifiber agreement


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