WTO Likely Will Take Up Textile Issues Next Month

Responding to an appeal from US and a group of less-developed-country textile manufacturers, the
World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected next month to take a hard look at what is likely to
happen when all textile and apparel imports quotas are removed in January 2005. The WTO’s Council
for Trade In Goods turned down a request for an emergency meeting, but agreed to take up the issue
at a regularly scheduled meeting in October. While the WTO and others see China and perhaps one or
two other countries dominating trade in a quota-free world, solutions to the problem remain elusive
and highly controversial.

A group of nearly 100 textile and apparel trade associations from 50 countries that comprise
the Global Alliance for Fair Trade recently were joined by the countries of Bangladesh, the
Dominican Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey in a request for an
emergency meeting. However, the WTO felt it could not reach a consensus on holding such a meeting
in the face of opposition from China, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and

Trade with China is expected to dominate the agenda for the October meeting, and
participating countries will get into the questions of currency manipulation, illegal
transshipments, export subsidies and a rash of other issues. Any extension of import quotas seems
to be out of the question, however, in the face of opposition from the governments of many
countries, including the United States.

August 2004