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Textile News
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

US Official Calls For Special Treatment Of Textiles

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

US textile manufacturers believe they may be overcoming a major hurdle in the Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations as a US trade official said textiles and apparel should get “special treatment.” The official made the comment during informal tariffs discussions, and it may not be the ultimate position taken by the US government. While US textile industry representatives welcomed the statement, Indian and Chinese officials reportedly said they are opposed to special treatment of textiles and apparel, saying it would be a step back from trade liberalization.

Cass Johnson, president of the Washington-based National Council of Textile Organizations, said the comment sends “an important message” to the United States and other textile groups that have been pressing for the World Trade Organization to recognize the “unique status” of the textile sector and treat it separately from other product areas. He noted that other countries from Latin America, Africa and Europe have added their support for separate textile negotiations.

Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the Washington-based American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said: “This is a much needed and positive step in the right direction. At the same time, the US government will need to insist that any final agreement include special considerations for textiles that do not leave the industry vulnerable to government-subsidized imports from countries such as China and Vietnam.”

The textile industry representatives called on the US government to build on the statement by working with Turkey, North America Free Trade Agreement, Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement and Andean nations to lock in agreements the United States has with those countries.

June 20, 2006