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Latin America’s textile industries are in trouble. They cannot compete with cheaper imports from China.

Textile industries are labor-intensive. They do much to create the infrastructure and work ethic needed for other manufacturing industries to develop. For this reason they are usually the crucial first stage in a nation’s industrialization. The demise of Latin America’s textile industries is especially tragic since it will not only cripple further industrial progress; it could also trigger social crises, given the serious unemployment and resultant crime problems in the area — problems I have been made only too aware of on recent visits to Peru and Ecuador.

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