Pakistani group backs legislation
November 19, 2001,
Washington — Pakistani textile and apparel manufacturers endorsed legislation introduced last week by Senator Sam Brownback that would give President Bush the authority to reduce or suspend duties on textile and apparel imports from Pakistan through Dec. 31, 2004.
"Unless our industry gets relief soon, Pakistan's economy will be in serious trouble," said Azfar Hasan, a spokesman for the Pakistan Textile and Apparel Group, a coalition of Pakistan exporters.
The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) has supported relief measures for Pakistan but continues to oppose the elimination of tariffs.
ATMI made a point last week of stating that it supports the Bush administration's efforts "to fight terrorism and equitably distribute the burden of waging this campaign."
While the lobbying group acknowledged that it had "cautioned the government against making concessions such as tariff cuts," it said in a statement that it supported aid that would not be "overly reliant upon concessions which would harm U.S. textile companies and their workers."
Specifically, the ATMI said, it was encouraged by a proposal to use the Export-Import Bank to insure U.S. exports to Pakistan against interruptions due to war or terrorist attack. The association also has urged the administration to offer the same protection to textiles and apparel imports from Pakistan. The ATMI also forwarded a suggestion that would allow the U.S. Agency for International Development to place orders for Pakistani textiles in the event of drop-offs in exports to the United States, with the proviso that those goods be distributed to Afghani and other refugees in Pakistan.
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