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Trade groups to file threat-based safeguard petitions

WASHINGTON – The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, National Council of Textile Organizations and National Textile Association stated in a press conference today that they will file threat-based textiles safeguard petitions during the latter half of this month.

The petitions will be filed with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), an interagency group comprised of representatives from the Departments of Commerce, State, Treasury and Labor, as well as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

"It is clear that the special textile China safeguard allows for the filing of threat-based safeguard petitions by textile manufacturers of inputs for apparel products," said AMTAC Executive Director Auggie Tantillo. "We intend to exercise the right to file threat-based petitions in mid-to-late September to prevent China from causing irreparable damage to the U.S. textile industry and the textile and clothing market."

A newly updated NCTO study indicates that China now controls 72 percent of the U.S. market in the 29 apparel categories released from quota in 2002. "History has proven that China can capture as much as 30 to 40 percent market share in a single year. We cannot and will not allow China to do the same thing in the categories still under quota," said Cass Johnson, NCTO president. "If China captures a similar amount of market share in the categories still under quota, much of the world's textile and clothing industry will cease to exist."

According to Karl Spilhaus, president of NTA, apparel inputs comprise a substantial portion of the U.S. textiles industry's output. U.S. manufacturers exported $13.8 billion worth of textiles and clothing products to Mexico and the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries in 2003. "Most of those exports were inputs for textile and clothing destined for re-export back to the United States. That is one reason why threat-based China safeguard petitions are vital to the survival of the U.S. textile industry," he said.

The United States imported more than $77 billion worth of textiles and clothing products in 2003. Of that total, more than $61 billion – $53 billion in apparel and $8 billion in textiles – was in categories where quotas are scheduled to expire in 2005.

These product sectors include all of the major apparel categories, such as men's and women's trousers, men's and women's shirts, and women's blouses, skirts and dresses. Key home furnishing categories, such as towels and sheets, also will be released from quota on Jan. 1. Many of these products are made from materials also produced domestically.

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