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National Textile Association Outlines Trade Agenda

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Following a series of meetings with US government trade officials, representatives of the National Textile Association (NTA) say they are not necessarily opposed to US Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick's proposal to take all US tariffs to zero by 2015 provided other countries to the same. However, the NTA stand could be at odds with that taken by the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), which has insisted that other countries reduce their current tariffs to the levels in the US before any additional concessions are made.

NTA officials also urged the government trade officials to invoke a "safeguard mechanism" and re-impose quotas on Chinese imports, which have risen sharply since quotas were removed last year. They also emphasized the need for a bilateral textile agreement with Vietnam. In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs, NTA officials urged them to work with the Bush administration to ensure that the promises made to the textile industry last year be "completely fulfilled." They also stressed the importance of preserving the Berry-Heffner amendment requiring the military to "Buy American" and said there should be no extension or expansion of wool tariff rate quotas that permit foreign wool fabric to enter the US at substantially lower than normal rates of duty.

February 2003