WASHINGTON — As global trade talks were headed toward collapse earlier this month in Cancún, Mexico, Grant Aldonas, the U.S. Undersecretary for International Trade, was making a pass at bringing peace between the U.S. textile industry and its decades-long nemesis, importers of apparel such as Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and The Limited.

Aldonas saw a chance to smooth relations between the warring sides that was casting a shadow over the U.S. negotiating a Central America Free Trade Agreement by year’s end. Moreover, Aldonas said he decided to “seize the opportunity and get started right now” on the administration’s new initiative to make the flagging U.S. manufacturing sector more globally competitive.

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