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Senate members urge Govt to expand TMP to imports from China
Oct '08
Seventy-three (73) U.S. Representatives led by Textile Caucus Co-Chairs Howard Coble (R) of North Carolina and John Spratt (D) of South Carolina sent a letter on Friday to President George W. Bush urging his Administration to extend and expand the Textile Monitoring Program (TMP) to cover U.S. textile and apparel imports from China beginning on January 1, 2009, the first day following the expiration of U.S.-China textile bilateral signed in 2005.

The TMP currently monitors U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam for illegal dumping. Ten textile and fiber industry trade associations and the labor union UNITE HERE also sent a letter on Monday to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab making the same request.

“The strong congressional support for the textile monitoring program further exemplifies the changing current towards a stronger trade enforcement policy, especially when dealing with non-market economies that provide their manufacturing sectors with massive financial incentives and WTO illegal subsidies. We appreciate their leadership and encouragement to find real solutions to the unfair trade balance in our manufacturing sector,” said Cass Johnson, President of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

Noting that the White House and Congress are working at a feverish pace to pass a $700 billion rescue package for Wall Street and that as part of that discussion, there have been numerous promises from both parties that middle-class America would not be overlooked, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) Executive Director Auggie Tantillo said, “To boost the economy it is just as important to help U.S. manufacturing sector like textiles that are under siege from predatory imports from countries like China. We think a great start would be to extend and expand the textile monitoring program to help preserve the 500,000 middle-class American jobs in the textile and apparel sector.”

The expiration of Chinese safeguards next year has raised grave concerns among the U.S. textile sectors and its workers, as well the United States preference partners in the CAFTA and African countries that rely on domestic components. To underscore this point, earlier this month, seventeen international textile and apparel organizations sent letters to Secretary Gutierrez, Ambassador Schwab and the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate Finance and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committees urging the extension and expansion of the TMP.

“Extending the TMP program to China once safeguards expire will provide the U.S. government with the necessary resources to effectively track China's import and pricing practices. This will enable it to react quickly if China illegally dumps its imports into the U.S. market and harms our domestic workforce, as well as the vulnerable in developing countries,” said Karl Spilhaus, President of the National Textile Association (NTA).

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