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Textile News
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile Association May Seek Import Relief

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is considering a two-pronged assault on what US textile manufacturers believe are illegal imports of textiles and apparel. Although no final decision has been made, the association is looking at the possibility of initiating cases before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the US government under US trade remedy laws.

NCTO President Cass Johnson said his organization has presented the US Trade Representative (USTR) with a list of what he believes are illegal export subsidies and has urged the USTR to investigate the subsidies with the thought of initiating a anti-subsidy case if they appear to be illegal under WTO rules. The USTR is looking into the allegations but has not yet responded.

In addition, NCTO is looking into the possibility of working with apparel manufacturers to initiate anti-dumping and countervailing duty (CVD) cases. Because textile manufacturers, as suppliers, do not have standing in apparel CVD and anti-dumping cases, it is necessary to get help from injured apparel manufacturers to have such cases considered. Johnson said initial contacts with some apparel manufacturers have been encouraging.

In anti-dumping cases, it is alleged that goods are being sold at less than their true market value, and CVDs are based on illegal subsidies. The US government recently reversed its decades-old policy of not considering CVD cases involving non-market economies such as China.

The actions are part of an overall strategy by US textile manufacturers to counter what they fear will be a surge of Chinese textile and apparel imports when quotas on 34 sensitive product categories are removed at year's end. The association also is seeking continuation of the US Department of Commerce's (DOC's) monitoring of imports from Vietnam and would like to see monitoring expanded to include China.

July 22, 2008