August 15, 2004
August, 2004 - One-hundred and seventeen congressional members recently sent letters to President George W. Bush in which they requested his support for an emergency meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address the expiration of worldwide quotas on textile and apparel products.
The bi-partisan coalition of signators - 88 representatives and 29 senators - reaffirmed the gravity of the issue to the U.S. and foreign textile industries.
The emergency meeting of the WTO would re-examine the fourth stage of product integration for textiles and apparel and would assess whether quotas should be postponed until 2008 or later.
"We believe that such a step would represent the most rational and pragmatic approach to the anticipated dislocation of some thirty million textile and apparel jobs worldwide that will result if the quotas are removed, while China continues to use unfair trade practices to heavily subsidize its exports," wrote the congressional members.
Unfair trade practices by China include currency manipulation, numerous direct and indirect state subsidies, export tax rebates and the widespread use of non-performing loans.
"Chinese domination of the global textile and apparel trade would shake the economic and political stability of dozens of struggling nations and would risk economic and political instability on a global scale," wrote the congressional members.
The American Sheep Industry Association along with the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, National Cotton Council, National Council of Textile Organizations and UNITE assisted the congressional sponsors in obtaining signatures for the letters.
Textile and apparel groups from more than 36 countries favor the initiative.