NRF SEEKS BUSH PORT PRESSURE: Concerned importers are urging President Bush to use his bully pulpit to pressure the West Coast warehouse and dock workers union and ocean freighter association to sign a new contract and avoid a potentially damaging strike. The National Retail Federation sent a letter to Bush and the heads of other leading federal trade agencies Monday urging them "to consider immediate steps to prevent a slowdown or shutdown at West Coast ports." The industry is bracing for a strike or union lockout at ports from Alaska to San Diego as the clock ticks on bitter contract negotiations between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. Of the $40.5 billion in apparel imported into the U.S. annually, 52 percent comes into West Coast ports."

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