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15 J. World Trade L. 124 (1981)
Public Intervention Strategies in the European Clothing Industries

handle is hein.kluwer/jwt0015 and id is 140 raw text is: Public Intervention Strategies in
the European Clothing Industries
THE multiple economic shocks which the world witnessed in the early
1970s brought about dramatic changes in competitive conditions for many
European industries. Most countries reacted to the rising oil bill and the
resulting payments disequilibrium by placing a major emphasis on the
need for the external sector to absorb a significant part of the shock. As
they too attempted to preserve employment and maintain a reasonable
external balance, European governments turned to the urgent tasks of
industrial adjustment and restructuring. Those sectors where comparative
advantage existed or could be developed had to be supported at the
expense of others; and where decline was evident, the cost of protection
had to be weighed against the potential for social unrest. Furthermore, the
appropriate policy instruments had to be chosen and applied to each
sector judged worthy of assistance. This required the identification of key
competitive strengths and weaknesses among the firms and segments in
each sector and an understanding of the impact that diverse policies or
programmes could have on the firm's behaviour and competitiveness.
This article examines the record of governmental intervention in a
very mature industry-clothing-in the six major EEC            producing
countries, namely, Belgium, Britain, France, West Germany, Italy and
the Netherlands, over a period roughly covering the entire decade. We
will first discuss the relative performance of each national industry, and
then survey the major intervention strategies that each government
pursued. While no causal links are entirely defensible, the evidence
suggests the relative usefulness of different intervention tools and strategies
in achieving national objectives. In conclusion, an interpretation of the
Josi de la Torre is Associate Professor at the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD),
Fontainebleau, France.
This paper is part of a larger effort to examine changes in the competitiveness of the U.S. and European
clothing industries, financed by Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia and INSEAD. The author is
indebted to Mr. Michel Bacchetta, formerly Research Assistant at INSEAD, for conducting most of the
field work and data analysis, both of which are fully reported in a working paper published by INSEAD in
June 1979.
Copyright © 2007 by Kluwer Law International. All rights reserved.
No claim asserted to original government works.

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