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WTO Takes Up Textiles Quota Issue

Seven Countries Make Request

Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, October 11, 2004

Following seven-hour talks on the elimination of textiles quotas on Oct. 1, the World Trade Organization Council on Trade in Goods will reportedly reconvene a week from today to consider a formal study of the impact of quota elimination.

The governments of Mauritius, the Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Uganda, Fiji and Sri Lanka made the initial request for official action by the WTO.

In the Oct. 1 meeting, statements from the United States and European Union acknowledged the concerns of these countries and noted that major exporters must look beyond their own borders and act responsibly to prevent massive disruption in the marketplace, according to a post-session announcement from the Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade (GAFTT).

GAFTT is calling on China, India and Pakistan to work with the nearly 30 countries — most of them small, developing nations — that are urging a review of the quotas phase-out.

GAFTT maintains there must also be additional measures taken to prevent “a few countries from overwhelming the marketplace” while the WTO reviews a comprehensive solution to the textiles situation. It is also asking the WTO to place the issue on the permanent agenda of the Council of Trade in Goods and move quickly on it.

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