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Trade groups enlist congress to keep quota

WASHINGTON — Two bipartisan letters, signed by 117 members of Congress, were faxed to President Bush yesterday urging the administration to endorse an emergency WTO meeting to determine whether the elimination of quotas on goods from China should be postponed until 2008 or beyond.

It was the latest step a campaign endorsed by a coalition of textiles trade groups opposing the removal of quotas on Chinese-manufactured goods. In order for this meeting to occur, two-thirds of WTO member countries must endorse it – the impetus behind a special summit this week in Brussels.

The letters to the White House were signed by 88 representatives from the House and 29 senators. The House letter was sponsored by Representatives Virgil Goode (R-Va.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). The originators of the Senate letter were Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

Next week, 45 textiles groups from 16 countries are planning to hold a Summit on Fair Trade in Clothing and Textiles in Brussels to step up the effort.

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