WASHINGTON — The domestic textile industry on Thursday filed four new safeguard petitions with the Bush administration aimed at restricting $735.3 million worth of Chinese imports.
The petitions cover wool suits, man-made fiber coats, polyester filament fabric and cheesecloth, and come a week after domestic groups applied to renew nine safeguard cases representing imports of $3.4 billion.
China agreed to the safeguards, which limit growth to 7.5 percent and can be renewed through 2008, when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. It since has complained that they run counter to the spirit of free trade, however. The safeguard mechanism was intended to help producers transition out of the 30-year-old system of quotas that expired in January.
Increasingly hungry for less-expensive Chinese goods, importers also oppose the safeguard quotas, in part because they can fill unexpectedly and create uncertainty.
American and Chinese negotiators will sit down to a fifth round of talks in Washington on Monday in hopes of reaching a comprehensive import agreement that, in theory, could protect domestic producers from import surges and provide importers with a more stable landscape.
"The U.S. textile industry will keep filing safeguard petitions until all categories of interest to us are covered or the Chinese agree to a reasonable comprehensive agreement," Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said in a statement. "So far, China has not been serious about negotiating a deal."
Importers were wary about the reasoning behind the new cases.
"These seem a little bit out of the blue and the timing is suspect," said Julia Hughes, vice president of international trade at the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel. "The domestic industry seems to be filing these cases more for political reasons than the substance of disruption."
The domestic industry, however, sees restricting Chinese imports as one of its top priorities and a matter of survival.
There have been 31 U.S. plants that have closed this year, as Chinese apparel and textile imports, through July, shot up 45.8 percent to 9.43 billion square meters equivalent. Overall imports in the same time frame were up 8.1 percent to 28.96 billion SMEs.Domestic producers argue, however, that Chinese goods are driving prices down unduly, as production is subsidized by an undervalued currency, nonperforming loans and other unfair trade practices.
"Since quotas have expired ... 128 apparel and textile workers have lost their jobs every single day," said Bruce Raynor, president of the union UNITE HERE. "The crisis is now. If safeguards aren't implemented, more plants will close and thousands of workers will be without jobs."
AMTAC and UNITE filed the new safeguard petitions, along with the National Council of Textile Organizations and the National Textile Association.
The administration has until Oct. 13 to decide if it wants to consider the new petitions. Acceptance would trigger a 30-day public comment period.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty