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Safeguard Mechanism Covering Chinese Imports Delayed

Safeguard Mechanism Covering Chinese Imports DelayedThe Bush administrations highly-touted plan to use a "safeguard mechanism" to control surging Chinese textile and apparel imports has been put on hold while Congress reviews the planned procedures. On April 3, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas outlined procedures for dealing with Chinese imports that disrupt or threaten to disrupt the US market. The plan sets out a specific timetable for dealing with import surges, and Aldonas said the procedures "provide a clear road map for firms, trade associations and workers who believe imports from China are disrupting their markets." He added that the Bush administration made a commitment to the textile industry and its supporters in Congress to enforce trade agreements, and the safeguard procedures are an example that the administration is keeping its promise. However, the procedures were sent to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee for their review and could be held up by supporters of importing interests who do not like the safeguard plan. The proposed plan sets out specific procedures and a timetable to acting on complaints of market disruption. At the time the procedures were announced, the leadership of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) endorsed the action, while lamenting the fact that the administration had taken seven months to act on an ATMI request for relief. The further delay has not made textile industry officials very happy, but there is nothing they can do but urge Congress to act quickly on its review, and, hopefully leave the plan alone.By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent May 2003