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Textile Machinery Association Cites Impact Of Import Problem

Washinigton Outlook

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile Machinery Association Cites Impact of Import ProblemThe American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) has weighed in on the textile trade issue with a report that says US textile manufacturers have suffered more damage in the last five years than the industry did during the depression of the 1930s. The ATMA analysis says that during the economic downturn starting in 1929, US production of cotton fabric dropped from 8.4 billion square yards to 6.3 billion, a decline of 25.3 percent. At the beginning of the current downturn in 1997, cotton fabric production was 5.1 billion square yards, but by 2002 it had fallen to 3.5 billion, a decline of 30.6 percent from 1997.In releasing the analysis, ATMA Chairman Fred Moorhead said, Let there be no doubt about how much US textile mills and their workers are being hurt by unfair trade imports. They are facing downturns in business today greater than they did in the darkest days of the depression. Moorhead placed much of the blame for the problem on China and its currency manipulation, which he said amounts to a 40-percent subsidy for imports and a similar tax on exports to China. He said the Bush administration must act quickly to get a market-driven Chinese currency to help the US Textile industry overcome what he called unfair and inequitable advantages resulting from currency manipulations. Moorhead said the US textile industry is modern and productive, but cannot compete in the present atmosphere. He urged US government to do more to give the industry a chance to compete fairly.Concurrent with the release of the survey, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute issued a fact sheet saying output by manufacturing industries is experiencing its slowest recovery from a recession, that costs of producing in the United States are rising sharply due in large measure to environmental, energy, and health care regulations, and that a decline in exports share of gross domestic product and a loss of corporate cash has put limitations on companies ability to make investments in research and growth.By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent October 2003