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Textile News
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile And Apparel Imports Rose In 2004

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The US Department of Commerces textile and apparel trade data for 2004 has triggered renewed calls by domestic manufacturers for restraints on Chinese imports as China captured 25 percent of the US import market. While imports from all sources showed a 10.4-percent increase to 46.6 billion square meter equivalents (sme), Chinese imports jumped by 40.7 percent to 11.6-billion sme.

As Chinese imports were surging, growth of imports from free trade and trade preference countries showed little growth and in the case of Canada and the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries, they actually fell in 2004. Canada and Mexico were at one time leaders in trade with the United States, but Canada now has only 7 percent of the market and Mexico only 8.8 percent. The drop in trade with those countries is of particular concern to US manufacturers, since products imported under the preferential trade agreements for the most part contains yarn and fabric made in the United States or the other signatory countries.

As the trade data was released, Cass Johnson, president, National Council of Textile Organizations, said the data show that the textile and apparel sector of the economy is in critical danger. He said China's trade surge is fueled by predatory pricing by Chinese exporters and subsidies from the Chinese government. He claimed China is an enormous threat that must be constrained. He and other industry representatives and some of their supporters in Congress are urging the US government to use the safeguard mechanism in the Chinese accession to the World Trace Organization to impose new quotas on Chinese imports.

February 2005