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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            Contact: Julie Cram/Curt Cultice
Monday, February 4, 2002                                                                    202-482-3809

Commerce Under Secretary Grant Aldonas Convenes First Meeting
of Textile Working Group

Washington, DC – Last Friday, Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Grant Aldonas chaired the first meeting of the Textile Working Group, an interagency group formed to ensure the Administration fulfills the commitments made in advance of the Trade Promotion Authority vote.  Officials from Commerce, USTR, Labor, Treasury, Justice, State and NSC attended.

Commerce Secretary Evans officially announced the formation of the interagency group on January 25 during a meeting with Representative Robin Hayes (R-NC), North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (D) and textile industry representatives at Burlington Industries. “This demonstrates the Administration’s firm commitment to ensure that our textile and apparel industries can compete in global markets,” Commerce Under Secretary Aldonas said. 

To address specific industry concerns, Aldonas proposed the creation of several subgroups during the largely organizational meeting of principals.  The subgroups will cover trade negotiating objectives in existing and future free trade negotiations; compliance with and enforcement of existing laws and agreements; the implementation of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing integration schedule; ensuring utilization of existing tariff preference programs as prescribed by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act and the African Growth and Opportunity Act; encouraging optimal utilization of the Commerce Department’s Export Expansion Program; supporting reauthorization of trade adjustment assistance programs; combating illegal textile transshipment; and ensuring full access to trade remedy laws consistent with international rights and obligations.

This multi-disciplinary approach to industry concerns was introduced prior to the US House of Representatives vote on Trade Promotion Authority legislation in December, when Secretary Evans outlined steps that the Administration would take to ensure that textile and apparel industry concerns were addressed.



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