WASHINGTON — The U.S. is preparing to charge back to China’s quotas what sources say is about $800,000 worth of apparel for alleged illegal transshipments.
The products, including cotton and man-made fiber dresses and bras, and men’s and women’s shirts, trousers and underwear, allegedly were made in China, but entered under Hong Kong’s U.S. import quotas during 1995 and 1996, sources said.
Caroyl Miller, the U.S. deputy chief textile negotiator, said in an interview last week consultations have been requested with China under provisions of the U.S.-China textile agreement.
She gave no details of the transshipments, however, except for the years in which they allegedly occurred. She noted China “has asked for time to review the evidence that we have.”
The textile pact permits the Chinese to review U.S. Customs evidence of transshipping and challenge it, but the U.S. makes the final determination about levying treble quota reductions.
China cannot protest such actions to the World Trade Organization since it is not a member, although China is seeking to join.
If this quota chargeback were imposed, it would be the fourth effected by the U.S. against China since 1994.
Most recently, the U.S. cut China’s quotas by about $17.5 million in September 1996 for transshipment of apparel and textile products.
Chinese trade officials vehemently denied these allegations throughout three rounds of talks with the U.S. over a six-month period.
U.S. Customs officials last year began an intense monitoring program of Hong Kong apparel factories, accompanied by the province’s own trade officials. Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule in July, remains a separate customs territory for quota purposes.
In total, sources said, the U.S. is looking to charge back 132,042 dozen apparel products against China’s quotas in 12 product categories.
These categories, and the chargebacks, measured in dozens, are: cotton gloves and mittens, 82,122; cotton women’s and girls’ woven blouses, 80; cotton men’s, boys’, women’s and girls’ trousers, 518; cotton nightwear, 62; cotton underwear, 7,692; man-made fiber gloves and mittens, 30,700; man-made fiber dresses, 101; man-made fiber women’s and girls’ woven blouses, 1,309; man-made fiber men’s and boys’ trousers, 25; man-made fiber bras, 3,061, and man-made fiber underwear, 6,372.

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