October 11, 2002
News Release 02-093
Inv. No. 332-448

ITC SEEKS INPUT FOR INVESTIGATION ON THE COMPETITIVENESS OF CERTAIN FOREIGN TEXTILE AND APPAREL SUPPLIERS TO THE U.S. MARKET

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a new investigation into the textile and apparel industries of certain countries that are currently suppliers to the U.S. market.

The investigation, Textiles and Apparel: Assessment of the Competitiveness of Certain Foreign Suppliers to the U.S. Market, was requested by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received September 16, 2002.

In his letter to the ITC, the USTR referred to the Uruguay Round Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC), which entered into force with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements in 1995 and created special interim rules to govern trade in textiles and apparel among WTO members for 10 years. The ATC called for the gradual and complete elimination by January 1, 2005, of import quotas on textiles and apparel that were established by the United States and other importing countries under the Multifiber Arrangement and predecessor arrangements. The USTR further stated that, in anticipation of the final completion of the quota phaseout required by the ATC, "it may be that significant changes will occur in the global pattern of production, trade, and consumption of these products. It would be most helpful for the Administration to be able to anticipate the nature of these changes as much as possible."

As requested by the USTR, the ITC will investigate the textile and apparel industries of certain countries that are currently suppliers to the U.S. market and assess their competitiveness and other factors pertinent to their adjustment to ATC completion. The countries include Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Macao, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey, which were identified in consultation with USTR staff as significant ATC suppliers to the U.S. market; Mexico; and other supplying countries with preferential access to the U.S. market, namely Israel, Jordan, and certain designated beneficiary countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, and the United States-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act. As requested, to the extent practicable, the ITC will analyze factors such as textile and apparel consumption, production, employment, and prices in major textile and apparel exporting countries, as well as their textile and apparel trade, particularly with industrial country markets.

The ITC will submit its report, which will be confidential, to the USTR by June 30, 2003.

The ITC seeks input for this investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the ITC is requested to provide information. The ITC is particularly interested in receiving input on the competitive strengths and weaknesses of the textile and apparel industries in the countries covered by the investigation. Further information on the selected countries can be requested from the investigation's project leaders, Robert Wallace, by telephone (202-205-3458) or e-mail (wallace@usitc.gov) or Kimberlie Freund, by telephone (202-708-5402) or e-mail (kfreund@usitc.gov).

The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on January 22, 2003. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m., January 6, 2003, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Any prehearing briefs (one original and 14 copies) should be filed not later than 5:15 p.m., January 8, 2003, and should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission. For further information, call 202-205-1816.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 4, 2003. All written submissions, except confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated October 10, 2002, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1816.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and generally are conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently cleared to the public unless (like this one) they are classified by the requestor for national security reasons.

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