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Industry Seeks Relief From Chinese Imports

James A. Morrissey, Washington CorrespondentJuly 2003

Industry Seeks Relief From Chinese ImportsThe American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) is expected later this week to file a series of new petitions with the US Department of Commerce seeking relief from Chinese imports by employing the "safeguard mechanism" in the US/China bilateral textile trade agreement. The announcement will be made on Capitol Hill in order to demonstrate support for the petitions by the industrys friends in Congress.Under the safeguard mechanism, a provision in Chinas accession to the World Trade Organization, the US retains its rights to impose import quotas to address surges in imports from China. The action will be taken in view of Chinas rising imports that, during the first five months of this year, are 16.6 percent higher than the comparable period of 2002.Several steps are involved in utilizing the safeguard mechanism, and it can be a fairly drawn out process. First, industry petitioners must provide the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) with specific information regarding a claim that Chinese textiles or apparel are resulting in market disruption. Then CITA will seek public comment on the request. CITA must determine within 60 calendar days of the close of the comment period whether the claim is valid. If it decides it is, CITA will request "consultations" with China. If agreement is reached during consultations, quotas may be imposed on a bilateral basis. If there is no agreement, the US has the right to impose unilateral quotas.Last August, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) filed a petition with CITA seeking reimposition of quotas on Chinese products where triple digit growth occurred when quotas were removed, but no action has been taken. By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent July 2003