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US textile groups seek China quotas
( 2003-07-25 10:52) (Agencies)

US textile producers will ask the Bush administration to impose emergency import quotas on four categories of apparel from China, a textile industry official said on Wednesday.

Lloyd Wood, a spokesman for American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said the industry is expected to file petitions asking for quotas on knit fabrics, gloves, bras, and dressing gowns and robes from China.

US textile company executives and members of Congress from key textile states will hold a news conference on Thursday to announce the action, he said.

The United States was required to eliminate import quotas on China in 29 different apparel categories when Beijing joined the World Trade Organization in late 2001.

But as a term of its entry, China also agreed to a "safeguard" provision that would allow the United States to temporarily reimpose quotas if imports surge dramatically.

Textile industry officials have warned of a new wave of US plant closures and worker layoffs by the middle of 2004 if a flood of imports from China continues unbated.

The American Textile Manufacturers Institute released a study estimating the growth in imports from China could lead to the loss of 630,000 US textile, apparel and related jobs and the closure of over 1,300 US textile plants by 2006.

Many remaining US textile jobs are in the Southeastern states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, which Bush won handily in the 2000 presidential election and may need to win again in 2004 to remain in office. -Reuters

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