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Washington Outlook Archive

Commerce Department To Expedite Publishing Import Data

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

In a move designed to improve its tracking of textile and apparel imports, the Commerce Department is establishing a new system for monitoring textile trade. The system will allow the deparment and the public timely access to preliminary textile and apparel trade data from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency, and allow policy makers to more quickly analyze the impact of imports on the US market.

US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said the action "demonstrates the commitment of this administration to put in place the tools necessary to enforce our trade agreements and level the playing field to support our domestic textile and apparel industry."

The move was hailed by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), which had long sought such a program in order to enhance the textile industry's claims of market disruption by Chinese imports. In welcoming the news, AMTAC's executive director, Auggie Tantillo, said: "We are confident that the data the US government will be releasing will show dramatic increases in US imports of textile and apparel products from China, and the data will help to prove the industry's claim that China is disrupting the US market."

The Commerce Department said it expects the new system to be in place by the first week in April. In order to provide public access to the information the department will post the data biweekly on its website, http://otexa.ita.doc.gov.

March 1, 2005