May 14, 2005

U.S. Reimposes Quotas on Chinese Textiles

The executive branch chose yesterday to impose the toughest legally permitted quotas in imports of Chinese textiles:

The administration action will impose limits on the amount of cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear that China can ship to this country. American retailers say that will drive up prices for U.S. consumers.

In announcing the decision Friday, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said a government investigation had found that a surge in shipments from China since global quotas were eliminated on Jan. 1 was disrupting the domestic market....

"The fast action to re-impose quotas by the Bush administration today has saved thousands of textile jobs in this country and we are extremely grateful," said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations. "The U.S. government has sent a strong message that it understands the real crisis that these enormous surges present to our workers...."

The United States has the power to impose caps of 7.5 percent growth in textile and clothing categories on China under an agreement that cleared the way for China's membership in the
World Trade Organization in 2001.

Here's what will actually happen:

CITA [Committee for the implementation of Textile Agreements] will request consultations with China by the end of May with a view to easing or avoiding market disruption. Consultations must be held within 30 days of receipt of the request by the Chinese government. The United States will make every effort to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Government of China to ease or avoid the disruption in the U.S. market for these three product categories within 90 days of such request. In the event a mutually satisfactory agreement cannot be reached by the conclusion of the consultations period, the quota will remain in place through the end of 2005.
In other words, it's a unilateral imposition of a quota used to purchase the votes of textile employees in the U.S.

Posted by Kevin at 6:57 AM