October 15, 2004 --According to the New York Times, the administration agreed on Tuesday to consider a petition from a coalition of textile manufacturers, along with the union representing their workers, asking that the federal government limit imports from China next year. This action could eventually cover nearly $2 billion of goods.
The petition was the first of what is expected to be dozens filed in the weeks ahead as the United States prepares for the expiration of textile quotas on Jan. 1, 2005, which is intended to allow for free-flowing trade in textiles and clothing. The categories and products included in this first petition ranged from cotton and wool trousers to cotton sheets and man-made fiber knit shirts.
In this petition, the American textile and garment industries have asked for relief in advance of any market disruption by Chinese imports, rather than wait for the imports, which they say would destroy their economic base.
Lifting the quota system was aimed at helping developing nations, but China?s success in the marketplace has convinced rich and poor countries alike that some limits or safeguards are needed. The World Trade Organization estimated that once the quotas are lifted, China will be supplying half of clothing imports to the United States.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33