By  on August 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously on Friday to move forward with the first trade remedy case involving textile products from China since quotas were lifted at the end of last year.

The ITC found that imports of “narrow woven ribbon with woven selvage” from China and Taiwan injured or posed a threat of injury to domestic companies. The ruling clears the way for the Commerce Department’s Import Administration to move ahead with its parallel investigation.

The products covered by the decision include certain woven ribbon used for embellishing apparel or decorative purposes like gift wrapping.

The initial complaint was filed at the ITC on July 9 by Berwick Offray LLC and its subsidiary, Lion Ribbon Co., alleging China and Taiwan subsidized the ribbon imports and dumped them onto the U.S. market. The document referenced the lifting of quotas, which ended a three-year U.S.-China agreement to limit imports on a range of apparel and textile products, as a key factor in the case.

Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the U.S. below fair market value or less than the cost of manufacturing. In cases where the ITC determines that dumping has occurred, it imposes antidumping duties. Subsidies occur when a foreign government offers financial assistance to companies that go against bilateral or global trade rules, and if confirmed, can trigger the imposition of countervailing duties.

The case will next move to Commerce’s Import Administration, which will make a preliminary countervailing duty determination on Oct. 2 and a preliminary antidumping determination on Dec. 16. If the Commerce Department findings are also affirmative, the case goes back to the ITC for the determination of final remedies.

Julia Hughes, senior vice president of international trade for the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel, said the case may not set a precedent for all textiles and apparel, but the decision could have some impact on the industry.

“People were watching [this case] closely…as a potential barometer for future cases,” Hughes said.

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