ITC DROPS SANCTIONS ON IMPORTED SWEATERS

WASHINGTON — The International Trade Commission has formally terminated a contentious trade sanction against man-made fiber sweaters from Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, ending four years of litigation by U.S. sweater producers and importers.
The agency, in an order issued this month, said it was revoking anti-dumping penalty duties it imposed on these products in September 1990.
The ITC’s action followed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appeals court upheld a U.S. Court of International Trade ruling in 1992 that both the ITC and the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration erred in imposing the sweater duties.
Affected importers now can apply to the U.S. Customs Service for a refund of these penalty duties. Trade sources could offer no specific estimate as to how much money would be involved except to say it would be in the millions of dollars. A Customs official said he had no figures available.
The penalties were the result of a suit brought by the National Knitwear & Sportswear Association, which alleged man-made fiber sweater manufacturers in the three nations sold these products at subsidized levels in the U.S., harming domestic sweater firms. Officials with importer trade groups, which contested the agencies’ decisions in the courts, claimed the original imposition of antidumping duties decimated sweater production in the three countries. Several analysts independent of domestic or importer groups, however, said changing U.S. consumer tastes were the real reason these sweater imports declined.
Meanwhile, in another trade development, the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements has announced quotas for imports of wool products from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
For the Czech Republic, the 12-month quota, effective retroactive to June 1, is 1.515 million square meters for woolen woven fabric, category 410. The one-year quota for men’s and boys’ wool suit coats, category 433, is 5,950 dozen and 3,915 dozen for wool women’s and girl’s coats, category 435. The quota for wool men’s and boys’ suits, category 443, was set at 72,533 units. In addition, CITA set a quota of 1.59 million square meters for imports of Czech-produced man-made fiber woven fabric containing more than 15 percent but less than 36 percent wool, category 624.
The U.S. import quota for the Slovak Republic, also retroactive to June 1 for the same products, is as follows: category 410, 395,635 square meters; category 433, 11,050 dozen; category 435, 16,691 dozen, and category 443, 92,315 units.

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