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US Industry Protests Indonesian Textile Embargo

The US textile industry is strongly protesting a decision by Indonesia to ban all imports of textiles. The action, taken in response to a flood of imports from China, applies not only to China but to all textile imports from the US and other countries. Van May, chairman of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), has written U.S. Trade Representative Robert C. Zoellick and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans protesting the embargo and urging the US government to intervene. Charging that the action is illegal under rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), May said the US government should quickly launch a complaint before a dispute settlement panel at the WTO. In the meantime, May urged the US government to prohibit all textile imports from Indonesia--which amounted to $350 million last year--until the ban is lifted.Indonesia is not a particularly important market for US textiles as exports, consisting mainly of cotton and man-made fiber broadwoven fabrics and specialty and industrial fabrics, have hovered around $17 to $19 million a year. However, under the ban that trade could fall to zero. November 2002