New Video Highlights Suffering Caused by WTO Policies in Textiles and Clothing

Original Publication Date: 
4 December, 2005

In the lead-up to the Sixth World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, the Global Union representing workers in the textile and clothing sector has released a new video drawing attention to the plight of workers in the sector following the liberalisation of trade at the start of 2005.

"Hanging by a Thread - How WTO Dogma is Destroying Textile and Garment Manufacturing in the Developing World" features interviews with workers, government officials and employers in Lesotho, Kenya and Bangladesh, three of the many countries whose industry is being destroyed by the onslaught of cheap textiles from China.

The Brussels-based International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation has dubbed the WTO as 'insensitive, unresponsive and useless' and has criticised the institution for slumbering as earthquakes rock the industry worldwide.

The ITGLWF is demanding that the crisis in the industry be a key item on the agenda of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting.

Says ITGLWF General Secretary Neil Kearney: "The issue of textiles and clothing must be on the agenda of the WTO meeting with time for a specific discussion on the impact of trade liberalisation on the sector and with a view to the WTO developing measures to help emerging and struggling industries adjust to meet the threats posed by dominant producers such as China and including the possibility of a permanent safeguards clause.

"In addition, in order to protect jobs in the industry in the poorest countries, textiles and clothing needs to be detached from the general NAMA discussions in Hong Kong and treated separately".

The video, produced for the ITGLWF by Parachute Pictures, is available in DVD Pal format (dur:16:47). To view clips of the video in Windows Media Player, log on to the ITGLWF website or click on, and

The script of the video is available at:


In Brussels : the ITGLWF Secretariat in Brussels at 32/2/512.2606 or

In Hong Kong: Neil Kearney, ITGLWF General Secretary, 32/475932487 (mobile)

The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation is a global union federation bringing together 220 affiliated organisations in 110 countries with a combined membership of 10 million workers.