September 15, 2004
September 2004 -- In the largest lobbying effort by the textile industry in Washington in more than 15 years, more than 100 textile CEO?s and representatives on July 21 lobbied 48 House and Senate offices from more than 25 states. The reason? To seek Congressional backing in persuading the Bush Administration to act to keep artificially low-priced Chinese imports from flooding the U.S. market once quotas on imports from China are removed on Jan. 1, 2005.
?This industry, in collaboration with over 90 textile and apparel groups from 49 countries around the world, is appealing today to the Bush Administration to stop China from taking over world trade in textiles and apparel,? said Allen Gant, chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations. ?Unless the Administration steps up to the plate, over the next two years, 75 percent of the 702,000 U.S. textile and apparel workers along with 30 million other workers around the world will lose their jobs. Orders are already shifting ? our industries need to see results from their governments.?
Specifically, the U.S. textile industry has asked the Administration to recognize that China poses a severe threat to the domestic textile industry and to use appropriate safeguard actions, as allowed under WTO rules. To date, the Administration has refused to consider safeguard actions before the actual occurrence of damage in the marketplace. The U.S. textile industry and the developing world cannot afford to wait for actual damage to occur because millions of jobs will be lost. It is instead asking that a comprehensive safeguard mechanism be put into place prior to Jan. 1, 2005, that will cover the more than $600 billion in textile and apparel imports still under quota.
U.S. textile jobs losses have accelerated dramatically during the last five years. In the Carolinas alone, more than 94,000 textile jobs have been lost while imports from China have increased by almost 400 percent. In categories where China has already been removed from quota, imports have increased by more than 900 percent during just the last 27 months.
The government has agreed to remove all remaining Chinese quotas on Jan. 1, 2005.
Textile leaders also announced that the industry agreed to a major media and grassroots campaign in the Carolinas. The media campaign includes print, radio and billboard messages highlighting the loss of textile and manufacturing jobs as well as the lack of effective government action.
Another component of the grassroots campaign is reaching as many as possible of the 156,500 textile and apparel employees and their families in the Carolinas through voter registration drives, major rallies, picnics, leafleting and direct mail.
The campaign was officially launched on Aug. 17 in North Carolina at which time the industry opened a campaign office in that state.
On the international front, industry leaders confirmed that Mauritius had sent a request to Director General Supachi of the World Trade Organization, and that the 70-member African-Caribbean-Pacific Group of Nations had voted to back the Mauritius request.