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Textile Groups In Developed Countries Agree On Trade Positions

Washinigton Outlook

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile trade associations in the U.S., the Europe Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey have agreed on objectives and goals as the 154 members of the World Trade Organization launch a new round of international trade negotiations in Geneva. Their basic position is that they want to remedy what they see as an "imbalance" in trade between developed and developing countries.Representatives of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, Canadian Textiles Institute, Camara Nacgional de la Industria Textile de Mexico, the European Apparel and Textile Organization and the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers recently met in Washington, D. C., to plan strategy for the talks. Following the meetings the associations released a statement saying: "Our representatives agreed to address the massive imbalance between trade opportunities existing in the developed importing countries compared to the closed markets in the developing exporting countries, particularly in Asia."The trade association representatives said they would urge their respective governments to pursue these "priority" objectives:1) To obtain within the WTO rules and disciplines a genuine opening of a number of large potential markets in Asia and elsewhere which are at present almost totally closed to textile and apparel trade. (This will require substantial tariff reductions on the part of those countries together with abolition of non-tariff barriers such as excessive taxes, arbitrary customs import licensing and certification procedures).2) To make no concessions regarding implementation of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing. (Less developed countries are seeking acceleration of the quota phase-out now scheduled to be completed in 2005).3) Avoid any weakening of WTO safeguards, anti-dumping or anti-subsidy instruments. (Less developed countries are highly critical of U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws).4) To end at the next WTO ministerial conference in 2003 the de facto moratorium for developing countries regarding infringements of intellectual property rights.5) To seek commitments from WTO members to take appropriate and prompt measures to stamp out widespread fraud, smuggling and transshipments of textile and apparel products.