WASHINGTON — Textile industry advocates in Congress, organized by Milliken & Co. officials, met Thursday to assess their chances of defeating efforts in the House and Senate to broaden trade benefits to Caribbean countries.
Staffers for textile-state Reps. John Spratt (D., S.C.) and L.F. Payne (D., Va.), and Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D., S.C.), and other industry representatives, met for more than an hour at a Capitol Hill restaurant to gauge Congressional support and opposition to the bill, which would give countries of the Caribbean Basin Initiative benefits equal to those given Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Identical versions have been introduced in both chambers of Congress. The House version, sponsored by subcommittee chairman Phil Crane (R., Ill.), has strong support and is expected to see action by early summer.
“We’re taking a look at the issue,” said Jock Nash, Washington counsel to Milliken & Co. Nash said that Milliken & Co. objects to the CBI parity plan because it offered the 24 island nations unilateral access to the U.S. market, but did not require them to open their markets to U.S. exports.