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Textile News

Yarn Market Double-Dip

Yarn Market 

Double-DipBy James L. Lemons, Ph.D., Technical Editor The Department of Commerce (DOC) recently reported that gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2003 increased to 1.6 percent from 1.4 percent for the last quarter of 2002. The results have some analysts predicting the economy may not slide back into recession. This is quite a contrast from earlier predictions that the recovery had stalled and the country was headed for a double-dip recession.With mortgage rates at their lowest levels since the 1960s, housing sales continue to surge. According to the DOC, consumer spending rose by 0.4 percent, as Americans streamed to the shopping malls. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81.0 in April from 61.4 in March the biggest single-month increase in more than a decade.The DOC also reported that orders to manufacturers for durable goods rose by 2 percent in March. However, corporate earnings have been mixed for the first three months of the year. Although sales and profits arent robust, business is much stronger than anticipated and seems to be on a path of growth.Where Is The Marker SystemGrant Aldonas, DOC under secretary for international trade, recently announced the current status of the textile marker system that has been under study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ultraviolet fluorescent marks, nano- or microscopic bar codes and DNA-based markers have emerged as the top choices. These three technologies used individually or in combination could combat attempts to gain duty-free orquota-free status for imports. The markers would be used by yarn manufacturers to enable the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to readily identify the country of origin (See Textile World News, TW, this issue).Although quotas end in 2005, tariffs hopefully will still be in place. Customs would use one of these technologies to specifically identify the yarn manufacturer and point of origin, thereby collecting tariffs that might otherwise be evaded. The goal is to find the technology that will be the least expensive for domestic manufacturers and cannot be readily duplicated by foreign competition.One spinner said, Its great that they are still looking at this, but when will it finally happen Another executive observed, They still dont have the funding to complete the research. How many jobs will we lose while they get their act togetherThe 2004 federal budget begins in October. It is estimated that it will take $1.2 million to complete this project. If this isnt a good return on the taxpayers dollar, what is Deals Announced With VietnamThe Bush administration recently announced a bilateral trade agreement to limit Vietnams shipments of textiles and apparel to the United States. The accord will place quotas on 38 categories of textile-related imports, and includes provisions that allow US Customs to inspect factories to verify production and ensure that Vietnam is adhering to international labor standards. This provision is especially important since accusations have arisen claiming that vast amounts of Vietnamese-labeled goods are actually transshipments from China. In fact, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute had pleaded to forestall the agreement until further investigations of the transshipments could be completed. The American Yarn Spinners Association and others argued unsuccessfully that the new quotas should be established using 2001 imports as the base, as opposed to current levels of imports. US trade officials contend the quotas simply bring Vietnam in line with other developing nations.Now that the deal is cut, American consumers will have access to a flood of cheap imports. Hopefully, they will realize one thing: More than 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam and have their names inscribed on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. The US Park Service maintains a separate memorial where names are inscribed for those who did not die in combat, but died later as a result of the conflict with Vietnam. Hopefully, The American Textile Industry will not be added to this memorial.  Download Current Yarn Prices

June 2003



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