USA: Trade Association Calls For Withdrawal Of GSP Duty-Free
The high tariffs, import bans and other restrictions against US textile exports to India, Pakistan, Egypt and South Africa have prompted the American Textile Manufacturers Institute to take action. The ATMI has petitioned the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to request that Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) duty-free benefits be withdrawn from these countries until they provide the United States with effective market access. "In 1994, this administration promised the US textile industry that it would get access to overseas markets," said ATMI president Roger W Chastain of Mount Vernon Mills Inc. "It's now 2000 and we're still at ground zero in terms of access into most countries and the four countries that we're seeking to have GSP benefits removed from are among the worst offenders. "We urge the GSP subcommittee to move quickly to withdraw these benefits," he added. ATMI's petitions to the USTR specifically cite Pakistan's bans on the importation of many textile products; India's recent imposition of specific duties of as high as 100 per cent; Egypt's marking rules, customs procedures and recent tariff hikes; and South Africa's tariffs on imported textile and apparel products that run as high as 78 per cent. US Department of Commerce figures show that in 1999 these four countries exported $1.6bn in non-textile goods to the United States duty-free under the GSP program, and more than $4.4bn in textile and apparel products to the United States. In 1999, US textile and apparel exports to these same four countries totalled less than $50m. According to an ATMI market access study, "Promises Unkept: A Report on Market Access for US Textile and Apparel Products Five Years Into the World Trade Organization," released in March, WTO members India, Pakistan, Egypt and South Africa, each earned a failing grade in terms of market access for US textile products.
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