NEW YORK -- The latest report from the International Trade Commission on the expected impact of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement not only failed to surprise textile executives, it reconfirmed their concerns.

As reported, the ITC study said textiles and apparel will be the industries hurt most by imports and worldwide competition under the new GATT regime of liberalized trade. The report was prepared for the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, both working on implementing legislation for the GATT Agreement.

Among the conclusions were that low-end commodity apparel producers will suffer due to increased imports, and most job losses will occur in North and South Carolina at fabric producers that sell to U.S. apparel makers.

While the report said textile and apparel makers would benefit from better property rights protections under GATT, many executives remained skeptical. They also said market access remains a crucial issue, one that was not addressed in the report.

Here's what some industry leaders had to say:

William Armfield 4th, vice chairman of Unifi and president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute: "As for the low-end manufacturers, they've already been hurt, and there are not that many left that are viable.

"Those that have remained have figured how to deal with the conditions as they are today.

"[The ATMI] has agreed not to oppose GATT if the implementing legislation will enable us to have effective market access, especially to India, Pakistan and China, countries that are major exporters to our country. The entire spirit of the Uruguay Round is free trade, and we can't enjoy that with closed markets.

"I do think the implementing legislation will be completed in the next four to six weeks, in time for a GATT effective date of Jan. 1."

Roger Milliken, chairman, Milliken & Co.: "Unfortunately this analysis confirms our worst fears about the effect of the Uruguay Round on the U.S. economy and the domestic textile and apparel industries. Of the 58 industrial sectors studied, the two with the largest negative impact were textiles and apparel.

"This agreement must be opposed by our industry if we are going to maintain credibility in Washington and in order to preserve this industry and its employment base."

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