[black spacer] Fashion Food Chain

[fashion food chain image] Sweatshops are part of a complex global system of manufacturing and retailing. Garments can be cut in one country, assembled in another, finished in a third, and sold around the world.

Clothing production is a major portion of many nations' economies. In 1996, global production of apparel exceeded $200 billion in retail value. About $125 billion is exported between countries, and $75 billion is consumed in the country of origin. The United States produced $49.3 billion (or 25%) of the world total and imported $36.4 billion worth of apparel.

Some argue that overseas production lowers manufacturing costs, which ultimately reduces prices to consumers and strengthens the U.S. economy. Others counter that competing with unregulated manufacturing in poor countries costs Americans jobs, depresses U.S. wages and working standards, and exploits workers overseas.

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