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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2003
  Contact: Julie Cram
(202) 482-3809

Bush Administration Delivers on Commitments to U.S. Textile Industry
Two New Developments To Ensure A Level Playing Field For Textile Trade

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas today announced two new developments to help the U.S. textile industry remain competitive in the global marketplace. First, he announced the conclusion of the first stage in a textile marker project to help fight fraudulent foreign trading practices that harm the U.S. textile industry. Aldonas also announced procedures for safeguard actions on textile and apparel imports from China. The announcements were made at the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) Annual Meeting in Coral Gables, Fla.

Textile Marker System
Aldonas announced three technologies-ultra-violet fluorescent marks, nanobarcodes and DNA-based marker system-as a key solution that may allow for a cost-effective textile "marker" system for practical use by U.S. textile manufacturers and the Customs Service. The Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a report recommended these technologies. As part of its long-term, on-going effort to address trade challenges facing the U.S. textile industry, the Commerce Department secured the expertise of ORNL in October 2002 to explore the development of a special "marker" system to track the presence of U.S.-made yarns and fabrics in U.S. apparel imports.

"The Bush Administration is working hard to level the playing field for the U.S. textile industry as it competes in the global marketplace," said Aldonas. "Oak Ridge has identified three technologies that show promise in the fight against fraudulent textile imports."

Safeguard Actions on Imports of Textiles and Apparel From China
Aldonas also announced first time guidelines for how textile companies can file requests with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) for consideration for safeguard actions against textile and apparel imports from China. The procedures will be published in the Federal Register.

"The procedures provide a clear road map for firms, trade associations and workers who believe imports from China are disrupting their markets," said Aldonas. "The Bush Administration made a commitment to the textile industry and its workers to enforce trade agreements - this action is one more example that we are keeping that promise."

Procedures include:

  • Requesters must provide to CITA specific information in support of a claim that the Chinese-origin textile or apparel product is, due to market disruption, impeding or threatening to impede the orderly development of trade in such products
  • The Committee will seek public comments on the request
  • CITA will make a determination within 60 calendar days of the close of the comment period as to whether the Committee will request consultations with China.

These procedures implement a special safeguard provision for textiles and apparel that is part of China's agreement for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under this safeguard provision, the United States retains the right to impose quotas to address surges in imports of textile and apparel products from China that have been "integrated" (i.e. removed from quota) into the WTO trade regime. The China textile safeguard will remain in effect until December 31, 2008.

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