Producers face new trade barriers in US
Eighteen days before the end of the 30-year-old system of international textile quotas, the U.S. is imposing new barriers on imported clothing intended to curtail an expected Chinese imports in the first few months of next year.
The Bush Administration¡¯s measures include an embargo that will be imposed throughout January on some of the clothing shipped to the United States. during the final months of 2004, the Washington Post reports.
The new rules have been posted on the government Web site and are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register.
Word of their impending imposition, demanded by industry, has stirred anger among clothing retailers and importers, who contend that the barriers violate an international agreement to open the worldwide textile trade starting in 2005.
Administration officials said that the measures are justified because the amount of clothing shipped from some foreign countries in 2004 exceeded legal limits.
China has become competitive in the world clothing industry because of its low costs, plentyful labor supply and good product quality.
The Chinese-made furniture will also be subject to trade barriers in the United States according to a recent U.S. trade decision.
¡°This decision is unfair to Chinese enterprises because the furniture industry is a competition-based industry in China,¡± said an official for the Ministry of Commerce.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has given final approval to anti-dumping duties of up to 198 percent on imports of about US$1 billion worth of wooden bedroom furniture from China.
The commission voted that imports from China were a threat to U.S. domestic producers, which clears the way for the U.S. Commerce Department to issue an anti-dumping order on the imports.
China has complained the duties violate World Trade Organization rules. The case is the largest US anti-dumping action yet against China.
¡°China¡¯s furniture industry has been completely market-oriented and these companies completely follow market rules,¡± the trade official said.
Some 90 percent of the companies are private, shareholding and foreign-funded, the unnamed official said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce ruled in November on the anti-dumping duties on Chinese wooden bedroom furniture, which fall into several classifications.
The highest duty of 198 percent was put on one major Chinese furniture manufacturer and tens of thousands of smaller companies that account for a few of China¡¯s shipments to the United States.
For the other 115 Chinese companies, accounting for roughly 65 percent of Chinese furniture imports, the rate will be 8.64 percent. Another five companies accounting for about 35 percent of Chinese furniture imports will face penalty tariffs ranging from 2.22 per cent to 16.7 percent.
Jia Qingwen, chairman of the China National Furniture Association, said it was wrong for the U.S. Government to deny the Chinese industry the status as a market-oriented industry (MOI).
Since the U.S. does not recognize China as a market economy, MOI status will help the Chinese industry win the case. Currently, the U.S. uses the cost of production in a surrogate country, where the normal value of Chinese exports material is calculated on material and labor costs .
But Jia believes exports of Chinese furniture will not decline dramatically, even with the anti-dumping ruling.