Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2009
In this article we address two questions pertinent to the debate on the relationship between industrial restructuring and the new protectionism. First, does the appearance of industry-specific trade barriers necessarily indicate an attempt to preserve those traditional sectors in which advanced capitalist states no longer enjoy a comparative advantage? Second, are all advanced capitalist states equally susceptible to protectionist pressures or will neomercantilist states, given their established capacity for sectoral intervention, find such pressures easier to resist than their liberal counterparts? After analyzing recent changes in textile technology and in the pattern of international competition in the textile industry, we examine the response of two states—the relatively liberal Canadian state and the neomercantilist French state—to this complex set of changes. The textile case indicates that it is a mistake to assume that states have but two options: protect or adjust. Links may be established between hightechnology and traditional industries that make it possible for inputs from the former to restore the competitive position of the latter. If such links are forged, then states may use trade barriers to allow producers time to adjust. French and Canadian textile policies reveal the conditions under which such states, although constrained by established policy networks, are nevertheless induced to respond in similar fashions to contemporary changes in the world economy.
The support of the German Marshall Fund and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in the preparation of this study is gratefully acknowledged.
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30. These were the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Union, whose membership was 29,291 in 1977; the United Textile Workers of America, with 6, 771 workers; and the textile and clothing affiliates of the Québec Conféderation des Syndicate Démocratiques, which had 15,007 members.
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37. Peter Clark, who, as a former senior Finance Department official, had been one of the Canadian negotiators of the original multifiber arrangement.
38. Textile and Clothing Board, Annual Report, 1981, p. 73.
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60. Interview with M. Delerive, Director of CIRIT, Paris: June 1980.
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