More than 70 senior executives from the textile and fibre industry attended a rally in New York City on Wednesday to show their support for China safeguard petitions now under consideration by the US Department of Commerce.

The labour union Unite also chose the event to formally announce that it has joined the textile/fibre lobbying campaign which is relying on growing grassroots support to pressure Washington for new and more protective trade policies.

Companies and union officials from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Washington, DC attended the event.

William E Giblin, president of Tweave Inc and chairman of the National Textile Association, stated: "Nearly every segment of the US textile, fibre, and apparel manufacturing sector has come together in a united fashion to lobby in support of the China textile safeguard petitions filed on July 24th."

Bruce Raynor, president of Unite added: "It is unacceptable for countries like China, that don't respect basic human rights or environmental standards, to flood our market, destroy entire industries, and put hundreds of thousands of men and women out of work."

"The job losses and the trade deficit are why the companies attending this press conference have pledged to hold voter registration drives to make sure that 100 per cent of the eligible voters working at their respective companies are registered to vote," remarked Gail Strickler, CEO of Saxon Textile Corp.

John Emrich, CEO of Guilford Mills, continued: "There is a mechanism, the special China textile safeguard, that can slow job-destroying Chinese imports.

"We intend to generate as many individualised e-mails and letters as we can from textile and apparel industry employees to the Congress and the President in support of the China safeguard petitions filed on July 24."

The China safeguard petitions now under consideration by the US Department of Commerce are midway through a 30-day public comment period, after which trade administrators will have 60 days to decide whether or not import quotas should be implemented on select textile and apparel items.