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US Approves New China Safeguards, More Petitions Filed

The US government last month approved safeguard cases against China for brassieres and man-made filament fabric and delayed until October 1 decisions on safeguard requests for sweaters, dressing gowns, wool trousers and knit fabric. In the meantime, US textile industry and labor union leaders re-filed petitions to continue through 2006 nine safeguards covering 16 products currently protected until the end of this year; and filed four new petitions to cover men's wool suits, man-made fiber coats, cheesecloth and polyester filament fabric.

The safeguard activities are proceeding as US and Chinese negotiators continue their efforts following four failed attempts to reach agreement to regulate US imports of Chinese textiles. A fifth round of bilateral consultations was beginning as Textile World went to press. Cass Johnson, president, National Council of Textile Organizations, Washington, noted the approved safeguards are for threat-based cases filed in December 2004, and said they [validate] the US textile industry's prediction that China would surge into the market in a disruptive way.

Safeguard cases covering skirts, socks, woven blouses, nightwear/pajamas, swimwear and curtains are expected to be decided after October 1. These cases, if approved, will be eligible for a 12-month safeguard, while safeguards for those cases approved prior to September 30 will expire at the end of this year hence, the filings for the extension of the nine current safeguards.

"The US textile industry is re-filing these petitions now to give the US government the opportunity to renew the current safeguards seamlessly in January 2006 if no comprehensive textile agreement [ with China] is reached," Johnson said.

October 2005