In late September, 73 U.S. Representatives, led by textile caucus co-chairs Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and John Spratt (D-S.C.), sent a letter 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 Jan. 1, 2009, the first day following the expiration of the U.S.–China textile bilateral signed in 2005. Ten textile and fiber industry trade associations and the labor union Unite Here also sent a letter 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 toward a stronger trade enforcement policy, especially when dealing with nonmarket economies that provide their manufacturing sectors with massive financial incentives and WTO illegal subsidies,” said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).
Augie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), said, “To boost the economy, it is just as important to help U.S. manufacturing sectors 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.”
Under the textile monitoring program, the Department of Commerce (DOC) analyzes import data from sensitive apparel and textile categories for signs of possible dumping. If the DOC believes that dumping may be occurring, it could file a dumping case.
“By extending and expanding the monitoring program, the United States would be sending a clear message that it won’t allow illegally priced goods to be dumped into the market,” said Ruth Stephens, executive director of the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute.