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Justice Dept. Brief Bid Denied

WASHINGTON — The federal judge presiding over an importer group’s lawsuit against the U.S. government ruled Wednesday against a request by the Justice Department and allowed three legal briefs to be part of the court record.<BR><BR>The...

WASHINGTON — The federal judge presiding over an importer group’s lawsuit against the U.S. government ruled Wednesday against a request by the Justice Department and allowed three legal briefs to be part of the court record.

The decision came as the Justice Department is expected to file an appeal this week of a preliminary injunction issued by Senior District Court Judge Richard W. Goldberg. It bars the Bush administration from reviewing new threat-based China safeguard petitions or from further reviewing 12 pending ones filed by a coalition of U.S. textile, apparel and fiber producers and the UNITE HERE union.

The U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel on Dec. 1 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of International Trade in Manhattan against five federal agencies. The association wants to stop further review and acceptance by the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements of China safeguard petitions that seek fresh quotas on certain imports.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Goldberg rejected the Justice Department’s request to strike three briefs, two of which were filed by a group of U.S. sock firms and a U.S. shipping association in support of the importers, and one filed by textile mills in support of the government.

In their request, Justice Department lawyers argued that the legal briefs would not assist the court and could complicate the proceedings.

Five textile companies filed court papers in opposition to the importer group’s motion for a preliminary injunction, arguing they would be irreparably harmed if the proposed injunctions are granted and CITA is not allowed to continue its investigation.

The judge’s ruling will allow that brief, as well as one filed by the U.S. Sock Manufacturers’ and Distributors’ Coalition and the other filed by the American Import Shippers Association in support of the USA-ITA, to be reviewed by the court.