The Canadian textile industry is made of approximately 950 firms and in 1999 employed 50,000 people. Its textile production is estimated at C$8bn ($5.2bn) and 42 per cent of this production is exported. The NAFTA free trade agreement in 1994 has stimulated the trade with the countries having signed this agreement; thus between 1994 and 1999, Canadian textile exports have increased from C$1.9bn ($1.2bn) to C$3.4bn ($2.2bn). The bilateral relationship between Canada and the United States is perhaps the closest and most extensive in the world.