BETTER WITH BROOKS: Hampshire Group Ltd. said it acquired the David Brooks business from Kellwood Co. for an undisclosed sum. David Brooks is a brand that focuses on the women’s “better” market, making it a “strong building block in Hampshire’s diversification and expansion strategy,” the company said in a statement, adding that David Brooks “will reside within a new division of Hampshire to be known as Hampshire Better Brands.” Ludwig Kuttner, chairman and chief executive officer of Hampshire said, “Through this expansion of our product line we will reach not only a new category of consumers, but also, in specialty stores, a new category of customers, which we believe will help to improve our overall performance.”
PUSHING AHEAD WITH SAFEGUARDS: The Bush administration agreed Wednesday to consider 13 petitions for safeguard quotas on Chinese imports. Nine of the petitions are reapplications of safeguards that expire at the end of the year and cover goods such as cotton trousers and knit shirts of man-made fibers. The move kicks off a 30-day public comment period, followed by a 60-day decision phase, which could be curtailed or extended as needed. However, the petitions could become moot if American and Chinese negotiators are able to hammer out a broad textile and apparel import agreement.
TRADING PLACES: Building on its efforts to expand economic ties with the Middle East, the Bush administration said it has completed a free trade agreement with Oman and will send formal notification of its intent to sign the deal to Capitol Hill. “Oman’s decisive embrace of open trade and free markets paved the way for these negotiations to close in only seven months,” said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. U.S. negotiators also wrapped up a fifth round of talks for a trade pact with Thailand and agreed to meet again next month.