Textile/Fiber Coalition Wins Victory on China Safeguards

Textile/Fiber Coalition Wins Victory on China Safeguards

November 18, 2003
Contact: Marjory Walker
(901) 274-9030

WASHINGTON, DC – On November 18, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) approved the textile/fiber coalition’s China safeguard petitions on knit fabric, brassieres and dressing gowns.

Approval of the petition triggers a consultation process with the Chinese to limit the growth of imports to the United States in these categories.  If no agreement on limiting imports can be reached, the United States may limit the level of shipments from China to a level no lower than 7.5 percent above the amount entered during the first 12 months of the most recent 14 months preceding the request for consultations.

Allen E. Gant, Jr., CEO of Glen Raven Inc. said, “The textile/fiber coalition would like to thank President Bush, Secretary Evans and CITA for approving the safeguard petitions.  If properly implemented, the safeguard will bring a measure of relief to a financially distressed industry.  That being said, much work remains to be done to address the overwhelming threat of China in our market.”

Steve Dobbins, CEO of Carolina Mills and Chairman of the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), said, “The successful safeguard action is a resounding victory for grassroots political activism. Companies educated their employees about the importance of trade policy.  Tens of thousands of textile, apparel, fiber and yarn spinning workers wrote letters and made phone calls.  Hundreds more registered to vote.  Everyone talked to their friends and urged them to act too.  The coalition will stay mobilized as long as it takes to stabilize the industry.”

Jim Chesnutt, CEO of National Spinning Co. and Chairman of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), said, “These safeguard petitions send a message that China, with its bevy of anti-competitive job-destroying trade practices, can no longer take this market for granted.  As the Administration has acknowledged time after time, China manipulates its currency, subsidizes its exports and smuggles goods across our border.  The fight for fair trade has only begun and the coalition will not cease in its advocacy simply because the China safeguard has been invoked on these products.” 

Gaylon Booker, Immediate Past President of the National Cotton Council (NCC), said, “These petitions would never have been approved without the help of our friends on Capitol Hill.  The coalition would especially like to thank U.S. Representatives Howard Coble, John Spratt, Virgil Goode and Bill Pascrell, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, and all the Members of Congress who sent letters to President Bush and the Administration urging implementation of the China safeguard.  This strong, bipartisan coalition really helped push the safeguard petitions over the goal line.”

Bill Giblin, CEO of Tweave Inc. and Chairman of the National Textile Association (NTA), said, “It is critical that the Administration set a strong and clear precedent by insisting on and implementing the lowest possible growth figure – 7.5 percent.  Any figure higher than that number will set a dangerous precedent that the United States is not willing to fully implement the safeguard.  This could have a chilling effect on textile investment in the United States.”

Bruce Raynor, President of UNITE, said, “The coalition intends to file additional safeguard petitions as soon as they can be readied.  Expect several petitions in 2004 and a flood of petitions in 2005 when the most sensitive categories are released from quota.  316,000 hardworking textile and apparel manufacturing workers have lost their jobs since January 2001.  The coalition will file as many petitions as it takes to stop the job losses.”

George Shuster, CEO of Cranston Print Works and Co-Chair of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), said, “The coalition will not relax in its vigilance simply because the China safeguard has been invoked.  Any gains from the safeguard action could easily be wiped out with a negative Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) or other trade deals with loopholes for non-signatory countries. In addition, the U.S. government must not lower its tariffs on textile and apparel products when the markets of other countries are effectively closed with tariff and non-tariff barriers. These China safeguard petitions are just the beginning of what we need to do to correct seriously flawed U.S. trade policies.” 

Geoff Schofield, President of Drake Extrusion Inc. and Immediate Past Chairman of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), said, “The success of the safeguard petitions shows what a united industry can do.  This coalition of textile and fiber manufacturers, apparel workers, labor and management, and cotton growers and wool producers will stick together and continue to fight for the improved health of the industry.  Much work remains to ensure a profitable and job-creating U.S. market share for U.S. manufacturers and producers.”

Roger Milliken, CEO of Milliken & Co. and Co-Chair of AMTAC, said, “The decision today to invoke the China safeguard was the result of a groundswell of concern and anger on the part of U.S. workers over our failed trade policy. It’s important to recognize that the approval of these three safeguard petitions is a first step in developing a much more comprehensive and rational trading environment with China.  Even individuals, such as Warren Buffett, are calling for a massive overhaul of U.S. trade policy. We simply must address this issue, not only for the textile sector, but also for all manufacturing in order to prevent the continued loss of millions of high-paying jobs in the United States.”

Auggie Tantillo, AMTAC Washington Coordinator, said, “The only way to stop more petitions from being filed is for the U.S. government to negotiate a comprehensive bilateral agreement with the Chinese that covers all sensitive textile and apparel categories.  This would eliminate business risk and uncertainty for all sides. This is what the U.S. government has almost always done in the past when it has implemented a quantitative import limitation like the China safeguard.”

There are approximately 730,000 Americans working in textile and apparel manufacturing and another 250,000 Americans working in the textile fiber complex, including cotton, wool and man-made fiber production.

In textile and apparel categories no longer under quota, China had 9 percent U.S. market share in 2001, compared to 53 percent U.S. market share as of July 2003.

The U.S. trade deficit in textiles and apparel totaled $60.6 billion in 2002.  The trade deficit with China was $10.8 billion.

U.S. Trade with China – Year to Date as of September 2003

  • The U.S. trade deficit in textiles and apparel is $51.2 billion.
  • Textile and apparel imports from China total $10.650 billion.
  • The U.S. trade deficit with China in textiles and apparel totals $10.487 billion.
  • The U.S. trade deficit with China in textiles and apparel is up 32.6 percent as compared to 13.5 percent for the world as a whole.
  • Products covered by the industry’s China safeguard petitions account for 4.67 percent of total Chinese textile and apparel exports to the United States in dollar terms.
  • In dollar terms, 41.65 percent of textile and apparel imports from China are in quota-free categories. 
  • The categories on which the safeguard petitions were filed account for 11.2 percent of China’s quota-free imports in dollar terms. 
  • Imports from China of knit fabric (category 222) = $31.3 million, an increase of 32.1 percent.
  • Imports from China of cotton brassieres (349) = $69.4 million, an increase of 31.8 percent.
  • Imports from China of man-made fiber brassieres (649) = $259.4 million, an increase of 75.7 percent.
  • Imports from China of cotton dressing gowns (350) = $82.1 million, an increase of 96.2 percent.
  • Imports of man-made fiber dressing gowns (650) are up $54.8 million, an increase of 57.8 percent.
  • Imports from China in all safeguard petition categories total $497.0 million.

Textile/Fiber Coalition Members

  • American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC)
  • American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI)
  • National Textile Association (NTA)
  • American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA)
  • American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA)
  • National Cotton Council (NCC)
  • American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)
  • American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA)
  • The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
  • The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet & Consumer Products Manufacturers (GTMA)
  • USA Domestic Manufacturers Committee of the Hosiery Association
  • Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI)
  • North Carolina Manufacturers Association (NCMA)
  • Textile Distributors Association
  • South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA)
  • American Flock Association

Press Conference Participants

  • Allen E. Gant, Jr., CEO of Glen Raven, Inc.; Glen Raven, NC.
  • George Shuster, Co-Chair, AMTAC; CEO of Cranston Print Works, Cranston, RI.
  • Roger Milliken, Co-Chair, AMTAC; CEO of Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC.
  • Steve Dobbins, Chairman, AYSA; CEO of Carolina Mills, Maiden, NC.
  • Jim Chesnutt, Vice-Chairman, ATMI; CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC
  • Cass Johnson, President, ATMI, Washington, DC
  • Bill Giblin, Chairman, NTA; CEO of Tweave, Inc., Norton, MA.
  • Karl Spilhaus, President, NTA, of Boston, MA
  • Woody Anderson, Vice Chairman, NCC; cotton farmer, Colorado City, TX
  • Gaylon Booker, Immediate Past President, NCC, Memphis, TN
  • Bruce Raynor, President, UNITE; New York, NY
  • Mark Levinson, UNITE; New York, NY
  • Geoff Schofield, Immediate Past Chairman, AFMA; President of Drake Extrusion Co., Martinsville, VA
  • Mike Hubbard, Executive Director, AYSA; Gastonia, NC
  • Auggie Tantillo, Washington Coordinator, AMTAC; Washington, DC
  • Jock Nash, Washington Counsel, Milliken & Co.; Washington, DC