Byline: Joyce Barrett

WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor told a House panel Thursday that the U.S. was pursuing negotiations with the Chinese to open their market to U.S. textiles and apparel exports.
Kantor, traveling to China this weekend to sign a recently reached accord to protect U.S. trademarks and patents, told the House Trade Subcommittee that he planned to bring up market access during his brief visit.
Noting that U.S. Textile Negotiator Jennifer Hillman had been “wildly successful” in securing market access agreements with India and Pakistan, Kantor said, “We will insist that China reach the same kind of market access.”
The development was welcomed by U.S. textile and apparel interests.
American Apparel Manufacturers Association president Larry Martin said the industry would applaud any aid the administration could give in opening the vast Chinese market to U.S. exports.
“This would be an opportunity to sell goods to a billion people, many of whom now have spendable incomes,” Martin said. He predicted that U.S. blue jeans and fleecewear would be in great demand in China, as they are elsewhere in the world.
Carlos Moore, executive vice president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, observed that an agreement for increased market access would be needed before China could join the World Trade Organization, which China has been attempting to do.
“We’re not surprised by what Mr. Kantor said, but we are pleased by it,” Moore said. “There are many products the growing Chinese consumer class would love to have.”
Moore cited underwear, sportswear, hosiery and fashion items as likely U.S. exports to China.
Addressing the House subcommittee, Kantor pointed to the massive $29 billion trade deficit the U.S. has with China, and said of that, $5 billion is in textile and apparel trade. Also, China ships an estimated $2 billion in textiles and apparel illegally to the U.S., he said. The U.S. ships about $40 million yearly in textiles and apparel to the Chinese.
— Fairchild News Service