Petition to Limit Imports Filed
The Bush administration agreed on Oct. 12, 2004, 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.
The action could eventually cover nearly $2 billion of goods, reported the New York Times.
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 ? a move intended to allow for the free-flowing trade of clothing and textiles. The categories and products included in the first petition range from cotton and wool trousers to cotton sheets and man-made fiber knit shirts.
The American textile and garment industries asked in the petition for relief in advance of any market disruption by Chinese imports, as opposed to waiting for the imports, which, they say, will destroy their economic base.
The lifting of the quota system is aimed at helping developing nations. However, China?s success in the marketplace has convinced rich and poor countries alike that some limits or safeguards are needed. The World Trade Organization estimates that once quotas are lifted, China will be supplying half of the United States? clothing imports.
China Safeguard Approved
The Domestic Manufacturing Committee (DMC), welcomed on Oct. 22, 2004, approval by the federal government of a DMC petition that calls for the applying of safeguards to the surging imports of socks from China.
The DMC petition marks the fourth textile safeguard action taken against China, pursuant to the terms of the U.S.?China World Trade Organization Accession Agreement.
Sock imports from China have soared from less than 1 million dozen pair in 2001 to 22 million dozen pair in 2003, and to 42 million dozen pair in the most recent 12 months ending in August 2004.
Domestic sock production has dropped from 207 million dozen pair in 2001 to 166 million dozen pair in 2003. Domestic sock mills still maintain about 40 percent of the U.S. market share for socks -- the highest share of any major apparel sector left in the U.S. apparel industry. However, this share has dropped steadily from 76 percent in 1999.
Australia?ASEAN May Discuss Wool TradeAustralia could gain easier access to export markets of 500 million people under the proposed trade deal between Australia/New Zealand and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), reports Fiber 2 Fashion.
If given the go-ahead, negotiations would start early next year with the intention of concluding within two years and full implementation in 10 years.
While the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) are not a key wool apparel consuming region at retail, possible gains are expected to be seen within their wool spinning to manufacturing sectors.
?A number of the Southeast Asian markets, such as Vietnam and Malaysia, are some of the newer and fast-growing wool processing markets,? explains American Sheep Industry Association International Wool Marketing Director Rita Kourlis Samuelson.
Bush to Consider Textile LimitsThe Bush Administration agreed on Oct. 26, 2004, to consider a petition from a coalition of embattled textile manufacturers that would limit some imports from China.
American manufacturers and the labor union representing textile workers have been pressing for help in advance of the lifting of all trade quotas on textiles and apparel on Jan. 1, 2005, allowing for the free flow of goods around the globe.
The petition accepted on Oct. 26 covers cotton trousers and shorts.
In early October, the World Trade Organization agreed to explore growing concerns that the year-end removal of apparel and textile quotas would lead to massive job losses and domination of global markets by countries such as India and China.
AWS Posts Loss for Third Year RunningThe Australian Broadcasting Corp. announced in late October a financial loss for the third year in a row by the Australian Wool Services (AWS), the parent company of Woolmark.
The company lost $A5 million, on top of an almost $A7 million loss the previous year.
?Structural problems within the company, namely spending $A20 million on research and development, have fuelled the loss,? said AWS Managing Director Peter Wilkinson. ?The Woolmark brand itself continues to be moderately profitable, and overall AWS is on track to make money in this fiscal year.
?Growers will need to make up their minds in the future as to how much money should be invested in R & D and marketing,? concluded Wilkinson.
International Wool Student Exchange Program
The International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) is launching a new project, the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), with funding by the Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI).
The program will support education in the textile sector by increasing awareness of the unique properties of wool and wool-blend products around the world. The program is aimed at strengthening links between educational institutions and the wool industry by enabling young, talented people to undertake industrial and academic placements in companies or organizations active in the wool sector, especially those dealing with Australian wool.
The program is open to students and employees from around the world. Ten candidates will be involved in the 2005 program. Successful applicants will be offered a 3- to 6-month traineeship in one of the companies or organizations active across the wool pipeline from sheep to shop. The location of the traineeship will be relevant to the participants? educational profile and preference.
The total value of financial support per candidate is approximately $A5,000 or $US3,800. All applications must be received at IWTO by Dec. 31, 2004.
Those interested in applying can find more information as well as an application form atwww.iwto.org/Projects/student.htmon the World Wide Web.
The Wool 2005 Fashion ShowThe Hindustan Times India recently reported that, ?With innumerable fashion shows marking the season, one show that stood out amidst the more high-brow ones, simply on the strength of the real warmth and good cheer it spread around, was The Wool 2005 Show.?
The show featured exotic shawls and stoles with wool blended in silk, woolen trench coats and ponchos in sheer wool, which are going to be ?in? this season. The colors to watch for are beige, cream, black, grey and red.
The collections included the finest range of pure wool and wool blends, with polyester, cashmere, tencel, lycra and silk, and comprised distinct themes including business wear, smart casual and formal wear. The show delivered what it set out to achieve: style and wearability.