The United States is not the only country being impacted by the expiration of quotas on textile and apparel products. The huge surge of apparel imports into Biella, Italy, is causing the Unione Industriale Biellese to demand the implementation of ?anti-dumping? measures and calling for mandatory country-of-origin labeling on all apparel.
According to an article in The Wool Record Weekly, statistics show that in the first 10 weeks after quotas ended, Italy imported 772 percent more pullovers, with prices down 37 percent compared to the first three months of 2004. Imports of trouser fabrics soared 674 percent and prices went down 21 percent; women?s apparel increased 472 percent, while prices plunged by 57 percent.
The article states The Wool Record Weekly has been frequently told that the strength of the euro against the United States dollar, cheap clothing from China and depressed consumer spending in Italy and Germany are causing huge obstacles for local merchants, combers, spinners, weavers and knitters.
Leaders of the European apparel and textile industry are also concerned about the ending of the quota system and the subsequent massive surge in imports from China. Leaders recently met with the European Union (EU) trade commissioner to discuss the crisis in their countries following China?s textile strength, which is said to be a threat to 2.5 million jobs and 170,000 companies in the 25 countries of the enlarged EU.
Safeguard guidelines on 12 categories of products imported from China were published in early April. Like Italy, China?s imports into the EU showed an increase of up to 600 percent in volume in certain categories, accompanied by price falls in excess of 40 percent.