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Washington Outlook Archive

Members Of Congress Support Monitoring Textile Imports From China

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Seventy-three members of the House of Representatives have thrown their support behind the US textile industry’s effort to get a monitoring program  for Chinese textile and apparel imports. The industry has been seeking a monitoring program as one step in an effort to combat what they feel will be a surge of Chinese imports once import quotas are removed at the end of this year.

Recently, trade associations representing textile and apparel manufacturers  in 17 countries that do business in the US market added their support to the  effort with a letter sent to leaders of Congress and Bush administration trade officials. They support the effort because they believe their share of the US market could be displaced by a flood of imports from China once quotas are removed.

The congressional effort was led by Reps. John Spratt, D-S.C., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., who serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Textile Caucus.

A letter to President George W. Bush, signed by Coble and Spratt and 71 other House members, said, “The need for stronger enforcement of trade with China has never been more evident.” They claimed that illegal imports from China have resulted in the loss of one million US manufacturing jobs.

Charging that China is the “leading violator of US trade laws,” the lawmakers said, “China’s behavior has severe consequences for US workers.” They pointed out that the Customs and Border Protection recently announced that it had seized 1,000 containers of Chinese apparel illegally shipped through 10 different countries.

The letter noted that when quotas on Chinese imports were removed briefly less than three years ago, Chinese manufacturers dropped their prices by an average of 40 percent, and China’s apparel exports surged by nearly 600 percent. The congressmen expressed the fear that something similar could occur when quotas are removed.

The letter said a monitoring system could serve as a “vital early warning system” that would allow the US government to react quickly if it uncovers evidence of products being dumped on the US market illegally.

October 1, 2008