Controversy Brews over China Safeguard Petitions


China safeguard petitions and the petition process are in the spotlight as associations on different sides of the trade fence continue to issue strong statements for and against the trade measures, which could cap the growth of Chinese textile and apparel exports to the United States.

A lawsuit to try to block the government from taking safeguard actions based on the threat of market disruption was filed Dec. 1 by the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA).

The same day, another safeguard petition was filed by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), the lead organization responsible for filing 12 safeguard petitions since Oct. 8. AMTAC also filed a sock petition last June that resulted in safeguard measures taking effect in that category in late October.

The Dec. 1 petition pertained to category 349/649, or brassieres and other body supporting garments. This category has been under safeguard protection since AMTAC's successful petition effort related to bras in 2003.

At press time in early December, the public comment period was closing related to safeguard petitions in the following categories:

. 347/348: men's and boys' and women's and girls' cotton trousers

. 647/648: men's and boys' and women's and girls' man-made fiber (MMF) trousers

. 338/339: men's and boys' and women's and girls' cotton knit shirts and blouses

. 638/639: men's and boys' and women's and girls' MMF knit shirts and blouses

. 340/640: men's and boys' cotton and MMF shirts (not knit)

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) has until early February to determine whether to request consultations with China regarding the petitions. If consultations are requested, safeguards would go into effect at that time and remain in place until an alternate trade agreement has been reached, or for 12 months if China refuses to consult.

In addition to the categories already mentioned in this article, petitions have been filed in the following categories, and at press time were either under various stages of review or open for public commentary:

. 447: wool trousers

. 352/652: cotton and MMF underwear

. 620: other synthetic filament fabric

. 301: combed cotton yarn

. 222: knit fabric

. 350/650: cotton and MMF dressing gowns and robes

For the latest information about the status of safeguard petitions, see the Web site of the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) at 

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