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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Monday, April 4, 2005

202-482-4883

Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) Announces Self-Initiation of China Safeguard Proceedings

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) announced today its decision to initiate safeguard proceedings to determine whether imports of certain Chinese origin textile and apparel products are contributing to the disruption of the U.S. market.

“This decision is the first step in a process to determine whether the U.S. market for these products is being disrupted and whether China is playing a role in that disruption,” said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. The United States is permitted, under the provisions of China’s WTO Accession Agreement, to apply safeguards on textile products from China in instances where those criteria are met. “This Administration is committed to enforcing our trade agreements and to providing assistance to our domestic textile and apparel industry consistent with our international rights and obligations. Free trade must be fair trade and we will work to ensure that American manufacturers and workers compete on a level playing field.”

The products subject to review will be cotton knit shirts and blouses (Category 338/339), cotton trousers (Category 347/348), and cotton and man-made fiber underwear (Category 352/652). The decision was made to initiate this review based on substantial increases in imports of these products from China over the first quarter of this year, following the removal of textile quotas under the World Trade Organization as of January 1. Preliminary data for the first quarter of 2005 show imports from China in these categories growing by approximately 1,250 percent, 1,500 percent, and 300 percent, respectively, relative to the same quarter of last year.

In accordance with its published procedures, CITA will shortly publish in the Federal Register notices seeking public comments regarding each product subject to safeguard proceedings, providing relevant information, and specifying the date by which comments must be received. The comment period shall be 30 calendar days, after which CITA has up to 60 days to render a final determination.

Next Steps:
CITA will publish a Federal Register notice that will launch a 30-day period during which interested parties and stakeholders may submit comments on each product subject to safeguard proceedings.

The Committee will make a determination within 60 calendar days of the close of the public comment period on whether to request consultations with China. If the Committee is unable to make a determination within 60 calendar days, it has the authority to extend the 60-day period. If such an extension is necessary, a notice will be published in the Federal Register, including the date by which it will make a determination. If the Committee makes a negative determination, this determination and the reasons for the determination will be published in the Federal Register.

If the Committee makes an affirmative determination that imports of Chinese origin textile and apparel products are contributing to the disruption of the U.S. market, the Committee will request consultations with China with a view to easing or avoiding such market disruption. As of the date such consultations are requested by the United States, a quota will be put in place to limit U.S. imports of the product. Consultations with China will be held within 30 days of the Government of China’s receipt of the request for consultations, and every effort will be made to reach agreement on a mutually satisfactory solution within 90 days of receipt of the request for consultations.

Committee For The Implementation Of Textile Agreements (CITA)
The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), an interagency group chaired by the Department of Commerce, is responsible for matters affecting textile trade policy and for supervising the implementation of all textile trade agreements.

CITA is comprised of the Departments of Commerce, State, Labor, and Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. CITA is chaired by the Commerce Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles and Apparel. The Commerce Department's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) provides the staff support for the Committee, monitors all agreements and provides economic analysis and relevant data upon which the Committee relies in taking action.