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Eurocoton, FTA Endorse Istanbul Declaration

Two multinational coalitions of textile industry and apparel associations - the Committee of the Cotton and Allied Textile Industries of the European Communities (Eurocoton), and the Andean Textile Federation (FTA) - have added their names to the list of organizations that have endorsed the Istanbul Declaration.

Eurocoton represents textile and apparel groups from 11 European countries including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. FTA is a coalition of textile industry associations from the Andean region of South America, including organizations from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The Istanbul Declaration urges an emergency meeting of the World Trade Organization to consider a three-year extension of the deadline to implement the global phase-out of textile and apparel quotas. It requests a "full review of global textile and clothing production, export and market circumstances so as to determine whether to finalize the phase-out process on Jan. 1, 2008, or to develop an appropriate alternative arrangement." The declaration also warns of "massive job disruption and business bankruptcies in dozens of countries dependent upon textile and clothing exports" due to expected monopolization by China and a few other countries of global textile and apparel trade if quotas are removed as currently scheduled on Jan. 1, 2005.

Thirty-nine textile and apparel trade organizations representing 31 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Africa have endorsed the Istanbul Declaration. US groups include the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), the National Council of Textile Organizations, and the National Textile Association.

"Every national textile association in this coalition faces a three-dimensional threat from China's highly subsidized export machine," said Auggie Tantillo, AMTAC's Washington coordinator. "Coalition members face the loss of significant market share in their own domestic market, in first-world markets and in critical developing-world markets."

May 2004