China, Taiwan admitted to WTO

United States textiles manufacturers will soon have to deal with the combined strength of China and Taiwan, as both countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week.

The People's Republic of China was formally admitted on Nov. 10, while Taiwan gained admittance a day later.

The WTO's 142 member countries voted unanimously to admit both countries into its ranks, benefits of which include protection against arbitrary imposition of barriers on goods.

Both countries have been tapped extensively by U.S.-based retailers for cheaper goods as well as those no longer manufactured or available in the United States. U.S. manufacturers also rely heavily on both countries for similar reasons.

Textiles, however, threaten the WTO's unity, as the United States and Canada came to verbal blows with developing nations led by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The argument centers upon developed nations opening up their markets more to foreign textile products, namely accelerating the current textile quota schedule and reducing tariffs.

The U.S. delegation had met with its Indian counterparts in hopes of resolving the conflict, but to no avail.

Until the issue is resolved, India has threatened to block overall agreement on the trade talks.

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