WASHINGTON, DC - The Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) announced late Friday, October 29, its acceptance of the first of the seven threat-based China textile safeguard petitions that have been formally filed to date. This acceptance indicates CITA’s satisfaction with the technical merits of the petition that was filed for category 347/348, men’s and boys’ and women’s and girls’ cotton trousers.
The announcement, which came after 15 working days from the date of filing, marks the beginning of a 30-day comment period, which will be followed by a 60-day window during which CITA could announce at any time its decision on whether or not to impose safeguards.
The threat-based safeguard action requested by the U.S. textile industry and supported by its suppliers is authorized under provisions of the accession agreement by which China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). If CITA makes a determination that Chinese imports are disruptive or threaten to impede the orderly development of trade, the rules of the accession agreement permit the United States to seek consultations with China. Once the request for consultations is made, import growth can be limited to 7.5 percent annually.
NCC Chairman Woody Anderson said, “The U.S. cotton industry is pleased that our government has given our domestic textile customers a fair hearing on the merits of the trouser petition, and we are hopeful that timely acceptance will be announced for other petitions already filed. CITA’s announcement is an important first step toward action that can help avert impediments to the orderly development of trade in textile and apparel products while protecting consumers’ access to reasonably priced products from an array of suppliers.”
NCC President Mark Lange also commended CITA’s acceptance of the first petition, noting that the restraints on Chinese textile and apparel imports to the U.S. market, if eventually imposed, will not be severe.
“The products under safeguard action would still be allowed to enter the U.S. market at a 7.5 percent annual rate of growth, about twice the expected growth rate of the U.S. retail market,” Lange said. “The safeguard petition process offers an opportunity for China to enter in negotiations with the U.S. on voluntarily restraints of Chinese exports. Hopefully, such negotiations would avoid actions that bring uncertainty and disruptions to orderly trade flows.”
The National Council of Textile Organizations and other organizations representing the U.S. textile industry have formerly filed petitions on the following categories:
Category #’s Product Description
347/348 Men’s and boys’ and women’s and girls’ cotton trousers
647/648 Men’s and boys’ and women’s and girls’ man-made fiber trousers
338/339 Men’s and boys’ and women’s and girls’ cotton knit shirts
638/639 Men’s and boys’ and women’s and girls’ man-made fiber knit shirts
340/640 Non-knit cotton and man-made fiber shirts
352/652 Cotton and man-made fiber underwear
301 Cotton yarn
Additional petitions are being completed for categories 447, wool trousers; 361 cotton sheets; and 620 synthetic filament fabrics. Still other petitions could be filed later.
“The intent is to file petitions on every category for which imports from China threaten the orderly development of trade,” said NCC Vice President Stephen Felker, a Georgia textile manufacturer. “The initial filings were for categories that are vitally important to maintaining viable U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing sectors, and we will continue to develop data on categories that could constitute a second wave of filings.”