Textile Industry Files Additional Safeguard Petitions
By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondentw
Following the government's action, a textile/labor coalition today announced the filing of seven more safeguard petitions covering 14 product categories and indicated more may be on the way. The new filings cover cotton and man-made fiber non-knit shirts (340/640), cotton and man-made fiber sweaters (345/645/646), cotton and man-made fiber bras (349/649), cotton and man-made fiber dressing gowns (350/650), synthetic filament fabric (620), man-made fiber knit shirts (638/639) and man-made fiber trousers (647/648).
The coalition said total US imports in the 14 categories covered by the new filing in 2004 amounted $14.24 billion with China accounting for $1.45 billion.
At a news conference announcing the new petitions, coalition officials said they would be filing more petitions as soon as they feel the import data will justify such an action. Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said, "We will keep filing petitions until the United States and China reach a comprehensive agreement to moderate the growth of Chinese textile and apparel imports to a reasonable level."
Under safeguard procedures, petitions are filed with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA). Once a safeguard petition is filed, CITA has up to 15 working days to accept or reject the petition on its technical merits. If the petition is accepted, a 30-day public comment period begins, followed by a 60-day CITA decisions making process. If CITA approves a petition, consultations will be held with the Chinese government. If no agreement is reached between the parties, the United States can limit Chinese exports in the safeguard categories to 7.5 percent during the remainder of the year. At that point, if the problems persist, the industry would have to file new petitions.