WASHINGTON — The American Textile Manufacturers Institute has reached an agreement with the Japan Textile Federation to develop a common agenda with other major developed countries in the World Trade Organization talks.

The ATMI and JTF oppose the U.S. proposal to cut tariffs on all industrial goods, including apparel and textiles, by 2015. Such liberalization would create "irreparable harm" to the domestic industry and other trading partners in the hemisphere, according to the ATMI.

Instead of the formula approach proposed by the U.S., the two textile groups said WTO market access negotiations should be separate and sectoral, encompassing only textiles and apparel. They also said all countries need to eliminate all nontariff barriers on textiles and apparel within one to two years of the conclusion of negotiations and address tariff reductions through a tariff harmonization approach, where all 144 WTO countries with high tariffs must first lower them to a certain level.

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