Global Poverty And The Cost Of A Pair Of Jeans

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The classic way for a country to work its way out of poverty is to build a textiles industry. And if you’re a developing country today looking to get into the textiles business — making pants, shirts, that kind of thing — you have to have a trade deal with the U.S.

Adam Davidson and Chana Joffe-Walt have been reporting recently on the effort by Haitian businesspeople to land a better trade deal with the U.S. (They did a podcast on the subject last week, and they have a story airing today on All Things Considered.)

To understand just how important trade deals are, I wanted to see the cost of some basic article of clothing — a pair of jeans, say — made in different countries. I tracked down Kristie Tippner, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon Associates, a company that helps retailers figure out this sort of thing.

She put together the table below. It breaks down all the costs of making, shipping and importing jeans from different countries to the U.S. (These are basic jeans that would retail for about $20 to $40.)

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)