WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it will appeal a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. Court of International Trade, as the legal battle intensified over whether the government has the authority to impose limits on Chinese textiles and apparel imports.
Ending nearly four weeks of speculation, Justice Department lawyers filed a notice of intent to appeal with the CIT in Manhattan. The appeal seeks to overturn the injunction imposed on Dec. 30 barring the government from accepting or reviewing a slew of China safeguard petitions that are based on the threat of market disruption.
“We are trying to figure out what the deadline [for the actual appeal] is once you file a notice of appeal with the CIT,” said a spokesman for the Justice Department. “We think it [the deadline] may be 30 days, but I have a feeling it will be far sooner than that. It may come quickly.”
Global textile and apparel quotas, which had controlled trade for more than 30 years, expired on Jan. 1, and that monumental change in international trade rules stirred up a firestorm of controversy over China’s potential to monopolize production and displace millions of workers around the globe.
China remains subject to an agreed-upon safeguard or temporary quotas through 2008 in categories where importing nations determine its shipments have caused or threaten to cause market disruption. A coalition of textile, fiber and some apparel producers, as well as the union UNITE HERE, seized on the safeguard mechanism in October and filed 12 petitions targeting some $1.9 billion in Chinese imports for further quota restraints.
In response, the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel took the dramatic step of suing five federal agencies on Dec. 1 in federal court, claiming the government violated its own published regulations and the Administrative Procedures Act, when it agreed to accept safeguard petitions based on the threat of disruption as opposed to actual harm.
The government’s appeal is expected to be filed with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington. Separately, the government has until Feb. 7 to reply to USA-ITA’s opposition to its motion to dismiss the case with the CIT.“There had been indications the government was going to appeal,” said Julia Hughes, vice president of international trade at the USA-ITA. “We still believe we have a very strong case and we will support that case through the appeals process.”
Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, one of the associations filing the China safeguard petitions, said, “Clearly, the industry deserves the right…to have access to all of the alternatives available under the accession terms of the agreement. It’s ridiculous for those viable options to be denied us or even held up on a temporary basis.”
U.S. textile association executives participating in a two-day international summit in the nation’s capital, which ends today, said they were considering their options regarding the suspended China safeguard petitions. They said if the delay in the court case and appeals process dragged on, they would move quickly to file new petitions based on market disruption if they could get “real-time” import data from the Commerce Department. Commerce’s trade data lags by a month and a half.
Association executives attending the third summit of the Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade, comprised of 96 trade groups from 54 countries, said they planned to meet with officials from Commerce, Customs, State, Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to discuss a variety of issues, although the pending court case was off limits for discussion.
Kiran Prakash Saakh, president of the Garment Association of Nepal, created an awkward moment at the GAFFT summit when he called for duty-free access to the U.S. and European Union for least-developed countries — a concept the U.S. textile industry vehemently opposes because it could lead to further domestic job losses.
GAFFT is calling for the governments of the U.S., EU and Canada to implement the China safeguards immediately. It wants then to ask the WTO to undertake an “urgent” review of the impact of quota elimination and an analysis of market distorting practices that places apparel trade in one or two countries such as China and India, implore the WTO to develop a permanent mechanism as part of the current round of global trade talks to prevent the textile and apparel sectors around the world from “being monopolized” and ask other governments to support a proposal by several developing countries for the WTO to monitor and address the economic impact of the quota phaseout.In addition, the group seeks support of a proposal from Turkey calling for a permanent safeguard mechanism and asked the WTO to include a safeguard mechanism for Vietnam, which is negotiating an accession package to become a member of the global trade body.
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.