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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2003
  Contact: Mary Brown Brewer
(202) 482-3809

COMMERCE RELEASES TEXTILE WORKING GROUP REPORT TO CONGRESS
Highlights Bush Administration's Efforts to Strengthen U.S. Textile Industry

***10/15/03 MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL***

The U.S. Department of Commerce today released the latest Textile Working Group report to the Congressional Textile Caucus. The report outlines improving conditions in the U.S. textile industry since the release of the first report in September 2002.

"This latest report maintains our commitment to seek a level international playing field in the area of textile manufacturing," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans. "We will not accept anything less for the industry and for American workers."

Since the publication of its first report to the Congressional Textile Caucus, the Bush Administration continues to place a high priority on measures to improve conditions in the U.S. textile industry. The new report specifies actions taken in the past year to strengthen the U.S. textile industry. The following are highlights of the report:

  • The U.S. has insisted on reciprocal market access as a feature of all of our trade agreements, including Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Singapore, Chile and Morocco; Doha Round multilateral negotiations; and a bilateral agreement with Vietnam.
  • Negotiated tough rules of origin and strong customs cooperation provisions in FTAs and included a provision in an agreement with Vietnam to allow the U.S. to reduce quotas if data on Vietnam's exports to the United States prove inaccurate. Data is currently under investigation.
  • Published a procedural framework for potential safeguard actions against China under their WTO Accession Protocol. The Administration is currently evaluating three petitions submitted under that framework, with a determination expected in mid-November.
  • Continued aggressive enforcement efforts against illegal textile transshipment, including $160 million of Customs seizures of wearing apparel smuggled from China, and are pursuing a vigorous textile export expansion program including participation in six major overseas exhibitions in FY 2003.

The Textile Working Group is an interagency group that was formally introduced by Commerce Secretary Evans in January 2002 when he outlined steps the Administration would take to ensure that textile and apparel industry concerns were addressed.

Conference call details:

WHO: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles James Leonard
DATE: Wednesday, October 15, 2003
TIME: 10:30 AM EASTERN TIME
NUMBER: (888) 323-2720
CALL Leader: Mary Brown Brewer
PASSCODE: 16088

PLEASE RSVP (202) 482-3809

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