The number of signatories to the agreement has changed slightly over time, but has generally exceeded 40, with the EC considered one of the signatories. Trade between these countries dominated the world trade in clothing and textiles, with a share of up to 80%. While the governments of the United States and the EU have formally opposed the growing group of stakeholders calling for an extension of the quota regime (either to extend the WTO ATC or to implement immediate alternative measures), imports from China continued to increase in the months following the opening of the textile and clothing trade. One of the most important agreements resulting from the Uruguay round of trade negotiations and, in many ways, a flag bearer of the WTO`s stated objective of liberalizing world trade in a rules-based environment, has quickly become the ultimate litmus test of the WTO. The difficult situation faced by policy-makers and WTO member countries was clear: any extension of quantitative restrictions would undermine the consensus agreement reached ten years earlier, to which countries had to prepare for a decade. Similarly, any extension would run counter to the structural changes and significant investments that would have taken place in anticipation of the abolition of quotas, particularly in China, which had been a full member of the WTO since the end of 2001, with all its rights and obligations. On the other hand, the abolition of quotas has threatened sustainability and hence the existence of a basic manufacturing sector, often seen as the first entry point for countries, as they diversify their economies, for example. B of a simple dependence on exports of raw materials or agriculture. In many developing countries, the clothing sector, in particular, had become the mainstay of formal economic activity, for example in Lesotho and Bangladesh. Given that few countries are able to compete internationally (or against foreign competition) without any form of direct or indirect protection, any threat to the sector in these countries becomes a threat to the job creation, investment inflows, production and foreign exchange earnings they sorely need. Such a threat also undermines any hard-hit economic diversification resulting from a previous dependence on resource-based exports.