New Trade Coalition Has Broad Reach

New Trade Coalition Has Broad ReachA group of manufacturing companies, farmers, agri-business and
labor unions has formed a new coalition to inform the public and lawmakers about what they say is
an economic disaster resulting from unfair international trade practices. The coalition
representing some 3,000 corporations and 2 million employees is supported by the American Textile
Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), National Textile Association, American Manufacturing Trade Action
Coalition, American Fiber Manufacturers Association, Textile Distributors Association, National
Cotton Council and the textile and apparel union UNITE. It also includes metals, cattle, chemical,
paper, sugar and honey interests and the United Steelworkers of America. Members of the coalition
have major operations in 35 states.The coalition was formed by Wilbur L. Ross who, among other
things, is seeking control of Burlington Industries and Cone Mills. At a news conference announcing
formation of the Free Trade for America Coalition (FREETAC), Ross said, Americas standard of living
is being systematically destroyed by our international trading partners and the people must be made
aware of this economic disaster. He said the US governments failure to address the causes of the
growing trade deficit is supporting transfer of Americas wealth to other nations. He pointed out
that the US trade deficit is five times worse than 10 years ago and that the nation has permanently
lost 3 million jobs.Ross said the coalition will conduct an education and lobbying effort to
address the governments failure to address the causes of the trade deficit, including foreign
government currency manipulations; evasion and circumvention of US laws; unfavorable trade
agreements; and US laws that he said deny timely relief to many injured industries, their workers
and communities. He said that both the Bush administration and Congress will be targeted by the
campaign.Speaking at FREETACs news conference, Cass Johnson, ATMIs interim president, welcomed
formation of the coalition, saying it could bring a new message and a new sensibility in the trade
arena.By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent
October 2003