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Global alliance presses WTO/govs to block China

WASHINGTON, D.C. ‑ Representatives from the Global Alliance for Fair Trade in Textiles (GAFTT) and government officials from 25 countries met yesterday to discuss a coordinated international response to the worldwide expiration of quotas on textiles and apparel.

Private briefings for government officials also took place yesterday and continued today.

The group issued the following statement: "By allowing worldwide quotas on textiles and clothing to expire without adequate measures in place to prevent the rapid monopolization of the market by a small number of countries through the use of unfair trade practices, the World Trade Organization has allowed global trade in textiles and clothing to become severely disrupted. Absent of immediate and responsible action by individual governments, up to 30 million jobs around the world will be lost to China and the continued development of a fair and beneficial trading system for this vital sector will be strangled."

GAFTT currently represents 96 trade groups from 54 countries that exported more than $170 billion in textiles and apparel products in 2003.

The group is asking governments, especially in North America and the European Union, to immediately implement the WTO special China textiles safeguards to prevent a monopoly of world textiles and apparel trade. It also wants the WTO to undertake an urgent review of the impact of quota phase-out and how China ’s trade practices threaten to impact trade in this sector.

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