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Washington Outlook Archive
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Customs Enforcement Being Stepped Up

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The US Customs and Border Protections Service (CBP) appears to be making progress with steps to combat illegal imports of textiles and apparel. CBP recently hired 45 more people to strengthen its enforcement efforts, and it reported it recently has seized and denied entry to $17 million in illegal textile products. Janet Labuda, director of the Textile Enforcement and Operating Division, says the CBP is using “all available means — trade pattern analysis, on-site verifications, review of production records, audits and laboratory analysis — to enforce US trade laws.”

In a recent meeting with Washington-based National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) representatives, CBP officials said they are using textile production verifications teams to visit foreign factories in order to review and verify that apparel being shipped to the United States is actually produced in those facilities. The teams reportedly are uncovering hundreds of violations and sources for illegal transshipments.

US textile manufacturers have been increasingly concerned about illegal textile transshipments in view of the removal of import quotas from countries except China, and a bilateral agreement limiting imports from China. They feel lack enforcement could result in illegal transshipments of Chinese goods.

Missy Branson, senior vice-president of NCTO, said NCTO is working with the CBP and members of Congress on a continuing basis to ensure better enforcement. 

February 28, 2006