NEW YORK — A top executive from the American Textile Manufacturers Institute says that while the new GATT agreement reached in December is problematic, it will allow the U.S. to gain footholds in some potentially huge markets that have been closed.
“While we aren’t satisfied with all the aspects of the agreement, we can’t think by simply not having GATT, we’ll be better off,” said Charles Bremer, the ATMI’s director of international trade, who said the likely implementation date is July 1, 1995.
Bremer outlined the treaty’s pros and cons and discussed its impact on the U.S. textile and apparel industries to a group of 150 converter, mill and fiber company representatives who gathered at Butler’s Restaurant here last Thursday. The seminar was sponsored by the Textile Distributors Association.
Bremer said changes in the text are still being made, most notably in the area of opening markets to U.S. textile products. He predicted that the GATT pact will pass Congress, noting, “Congress had its big fight with NAFTA.”
“GATT,” Bremer said, “will increase competitiveness and imports to the U.S. markets. Many tariffs will be slashed, but it would have happened even without a GATT.” Bremer said average tariff will be about 11.5 percent, “a far cry from the 50 percent the previous administration wanted.”
“This is better,” he said. “We’ll gain access to other markets, ones we haven’t touched yet.” He cited India as a prime example. “While 600 million of its citizens live in poverty, there are more millionaires in India than there are in the U.S.,” claimed Bremer, who said about 250 million people in India will be able to afford U.S.-made apparel. “Without a GATT, that market would be unreachable to our producers.
“We’re all used to competition in the market,” he added, noting that imports of textile and apparel are growing at a rate of 11 to 12 percent annually.