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Textile News
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Importers Oppose Extending Import Monitoring

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Four trade associations whose members import the majority of textiles and apparel into the United States have written to the leadership of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee expressing their "very strong opposition" to language in a report dealing with appropriations for the Department of Commerce (DOC) that calls for continuation of the DOC's monitoring of Vietnam textile and apparel imports and expanding the program to include China.

The report contains language directing the DOC's International Trade Administration to undertake monitoring of apparel imports, including socks, focusing on prices of imports from China and Vietnam and the question of whether their state-run industries are illegally pricing products and dumping them into the United States.

The importers’ associations claim it is wrong and harmful to the US economy for Congress to single out apparel made in Vietnam or China. In part, the letter said; "We are concerned that this is primarily intended to chill and micromanage trade by encouraging the movement of sourcing to other countries with no apparent gain to the United States."

The importers contend there is no basis for conducting monitoring and price analyses targeted at selected apparel products from a few countries but not for all other imports.

The letter points out that during the 18 months when Vietnam imports have been monitored, there has been no evidence of dumping, and not a single apparel company has claimed injury from Vietnam imports. It contends the monitoring program, initiated in response to demands from textile-state lawmakers, is an attempt to circumvent anti-dumping laws that require petitioners to have standing by launching de facto investigations without formal initiation of an investigation.

The letter says that two Bush administration reviews have found no evidence of dumping, and the program should not have been started in the first place.

“While the Vietnam monitoring program imposed additional costs on US companies by forcing them to reconsider sourcing plans and divert orders to other suppliers, it did not bring a single order or job to the United States,” the letter concludes. It was signed by officials of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel.

July 22, 2008