As part of the DFID-funded South Africa Trade and Poverty Programme and its objective to promote informed dialogue on South Africa's trade policy amongst key stakeholders, TIPS in 2005 implemented a seminar series under the auspices of Nedlac. These seminars provided a platform for government and civil society representatives (business, labour and broader social interest groups) to discuss critical issues concerning the role of trade policy in fostering poverty reduction and human development in South Africa.
Towards the end of 2004, TIPS and a number of its network researchers as well as external analysts reviewed several sectors of the South African economy as part of a project commissioned by the Presidency and the ComMark Trust to inform policy debate. As part of this process, Dr. Justin Barnes analysed the clothing sector, its major markets and production trends, as well as its broader dynamics. Based on this analysis, various clothing sector constraints and opportunities and hence policy-related challenges were identified. Barnes discussed these issues, as well as the way this work informed the current debate on calls for increased protection for the clothing sector at this workshop.