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Textile And Apparel Job Losses Skyrocket Amid Record Import Surges From China Vietnam

Textile and Apparel Job Losses Skyrocket Amid Record Import Surges from China, VietnamThe U.S. textile industry lost 8,900 jobs in July the third highest monthly total ever as imports of subsidized textile and apparel products from China and Vietnam hit new records. And this job loss figure does not even include the nearly 6,500 jobs that will soon be lost as a result of the announcement last week that Pillowtex will close all U.S. manufacturing operations. When combined with the loss of 9,300 apparel jobs in July, this means that the U.S. textile and apparel sector lost 18,200 jobs last month, accounting for fully one quarter of all manufacturing job losses in the United States. U.S. manufacturing job losses in July totaled 71,000, the 35th straight month of manufacturing job losses. The July job losses continue a string of sharp monthly declines in U.S. textile and apparel employment that began in April 2003. Over the past four months, 26,000 textile jobs and 21,000 apparel jobs have been lost in the United States. 2.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, including almost 300,000 U.S. textile and apparel jobs, have been lost since January 2001. There can be no clearer sign that the U.S. government needs to get serious about the manufacturing crisis in this country, said Cass Johnson, Senior Vice President, ATMI.It is long past time for this government to stand up to countries like China that use every illegal trick in the book to take our jobs away. We need our government to be as outraged about China trade practices as our workers are about losing their jobs, Johnson added.On July 24th, ATMI and three other textile associations formally filed safeguard petitions with the U.S. government asking that quotas be re-imposed on surging imports of knit gloves, dresses, brassieres and knit fabric from China. ATMI and other textile trade association have urged the government to recognize the damage that illegal Chinese trade practices are inflicting on the U.S. textile workers and to impose the safeguards (go to: http://www.atmi.org/Newsroom/united.pdf).Also, the U.S. government is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with various countries in Central America, an area that buys more than $5 billion worth of U.S. yarns and fabric. At issue, are a series of loopholes being sought by importers that would permit Chinese yarns and fabrics to take the place of U.S. products. Johnson said, We urge the U.S. government to stand firm against the loss of more U.S. jobs and to reject these loopholes.According to Commerce Department figures, textile and apparel imports from China for the month of May 2003 (latest figure available) increased from 395 million square meters in May 2002 to 667 million square meters, a jump of 69 percent. At the same time, imports from Vietnam jumped from 20 million square meters in May 2002 to 79 million square meters, an increase of 300 percent.Both China and Vietnam, along with other major Asian exporting nations, manipulate their currencies to keep them undervalued against the U.S. dollar, a de facto subsidy of their exports to the United States. In particular, economists have estimated that China gains as much as 40 percent price advantage from its currency peg. Currency manipulation in order to gain an export advantage is illegal under World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund rules. Both countries also directly subsidize their textile industries. Despite urging by a broad coalition of manufacturing and agricultural groups (www.sounddollar.org), the U.S. government has thus refused to take WTO or IMF action against Asian countries that manipulate their currencies and cost U.S. jobs. Press Release Courtesy of ATMI August 2003