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Edwards Has Supported Textile Industry

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Sen. John R. Edwards (D-N.C.), who has announced his plan to run for president in the 2004 election, has been a consistent supporter of the US textile industry on trade issues, but as a former trial lawyer, he has taken some positions that are not all that popular in other areas. He played a major role in trying to protect the interests of the textile industry during last year's battle over legislation granting the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). As the Senate considered the bill, Edwards authored an amendment that would have written into law the basic international trade objectives of the US industry, including a call for other nations to reduce their tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade before the US grants any further concessions. When his amendment was watered down in conference, Edwards eventually voted against the TPA bill. While Edwards wins high marks from the industry for his stands on international trade, his background as a trial lawyer is a source of some concern in connection with such issues as ergonomics and consumer product regulation.

January 2003