The manufacturing sector has been dominated by agro-industries such as sugar-milling, citrus-processing, and processing of domestic foodstuffs. Belize also had a significant garment industry in the early 1990s. Nonagricultural industries that produced import substitutes were highly protected. Their output was limited by the size of the domestic market.
The garment industry was the only export-producing nonagricultural industry of note. As with the country's other major products, its level of exports fluctuated throughout the 1980s. In 1980 the garment industry was Belize's second largest industry. By 1990 the industry had dropped to fourth behind sugar, tourism, and citrus.
Garment manufacturing in Belize was an offshore industry using imported United States cloth. The finished product was then reexported, with the product exempt from United States duties for all but the portion of value added in Belize, per United States Tariff Schedule 807. Belize's garment exports have also benefited from the Multi-fibre Arrangement, which placed a United States import quota on garments from major exporters. Belize was not subject to the United States quota because of its relatively small share of United States imports.
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