CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Commerce Department on Thursday set guidelines for companies to file petitions alleging that Chinese textile imports are disrupting U.S. markets.

Undersecretary Grant Aldonas told members of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute at their annual meeting here that the guidelines would be published in the Federal Register within a week. He said Commerce should begin reviewing petitions within two weeks.

The agreement that paved the way for China to enter the World Trade Organization contains a special provision allowing the U.S. to impose quotas on Chinese imports if they disrupt U.S. markets. In the last year, Chinese imports have skyrocketed, causing ATMI to file a petition six months ago charging market disruption in five categories.

Aldonas said the guidelines will allow any "interested parties" to bring such petitions and added that the government "will reserve the right to initiate when we think it’s warranted." He said the first petition brought against China should be "rock solid."

Parks Shakelford, president of ATMI, called the news "positive," but added: "We’re concerned that this is taking so long."

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