There may be just 100 firms left in the industry this year, down from about 200 companies in the peak year of 1997 . In 2004 the number of companies was estimated at 150 and the garment industry employed about 27,000 people, according to the report . High labour costs, absence of a large domestic market and problems in sourcing raw material at competitive prices are aiding the industry’s decline .At $100 million a year the UAE’s garment exports may be insignificant in the global garment trade worth $800 billion, but the industry’s fate and experience is of interest for the future of manufacturing in the UAE, the EIB report stated .The UAE’s garment production and exports have been declining since 1998. In 2004, garment exports fell 14 per cent and were less than half of their peak of about $250 million in 1997 . The report said the emergence of the garment industry was helped by market distortions created by the quota regime in the US and EU .The removal of these quotas has helped the world’s leading garment exporters such as India and China, which enjoy benefits of low production costs. The UAE industry has barely managed to avoid being wiped out . Source: .