China Wants Its T-Shirt Industry Back

The global recession has hit China hard, as Americans cut back on purchases of the televisions, cameras and other gizmos that are increasingly manufactured in Guangdong factories. Over the past decade, China has made efforts to move its economy toward these high-tech, higher-wage factory products, and away from lower-skilled, labor-intensive sectors like garment production. But as the American recession chips away at electronics sales, the Chinese government is moving to snatch back the lower-rung industries from countries it had been relinquishing them to, like Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. Phased out tax rebates for the textile sector are being restored, and minimum wage hikes have been halted. "China will resort to tariff and trade policies to facilitate export of labor-intensive and core technology-supported industries," said the minister of industry and information technology in December.