WASHINGTON — A coalition of U.S. and international textile and apparel executives urged the World Trade Organization to allow more countries to participate in an informal meeting on quota elimination slated for next Tuesday.

WTO director general Supachai Panitchpakdi has invited trade ambassadors from 17 countries, including China, India, the U.S. and the U.K., and a European Union envoy to attend the meeting, but he left many large apparel and textile suppliers off of the list. Those invited also include Bangladesh and Mauritius, which sent letters in recent weeks requesting the talks.

The Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade, a group of more than 90 textile and apparel associations, and Brussels-based Euratex, representing European textile firms, called on the WTO chief to include several large apparel and textile suppliers such as Turkey, Mexico and the five Central American nations that have a big stake and should be allowed to weigh in on the need for a formal meeting.

Trade envoys will determine at the session whether there is broad-based support for a larger, formal meeting on the impact of the elimination of apparel and textile quotas on Jan. 1. The issue is critical for the U.S. textile industry and for many developing nations that fear they won’t be able to compete with China once quotas are removed.

— Kristi Ellis

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.