The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) has reiterated its support for the Bush Administration's efforts to fight terrorism and to equitably distribute the burden of waging this campaign.

Reacting to media reports detailing the Administration's proposed aid package to Pakistan, the association said it believes the reported aid package is sufficiently balanced and not overly reliant upon concessions which would harm US textile companies and their workers. ATMI had cautioned the government against making concessions such as tariff cuts that would unfairly impact US textile manufacturers.

ATMI President Charles A Hayes, Guilford Mills Inc, said: "Since September 11 we have made clear our industry's willingness to do whatever it takes to meet the unique needs of America's military in this campaign against terrorism.

"The United States Armed Forces annually purchase some 13,000 different items made of textile products, and we have committed to our government that we are there for them in this crisis. American textile companies and our workers are contributing to the war against terrorism and are making sacrifices even as the industry is suffering as never before."

He continued: "We have been in extensive discussions with the Bush Administration to help them in the war on terrorism, including helping them fashion an aid package for Pakistan that does not harm the American textile industry at a time when it is already facing severe economic hardship.

"According to media reports, it appears that the Administration has listened to the concerns of the industry and its supporters in Congress, and has developed a balanced and acceptable package which ensures that the cost of aiding this important ally is broadly shared by all Americans, not just American textile companies and American textile workers.

"We are especially pleased that there will be no cuts in duties on imported textile and apparel products from Pakistan.

"We applaud the Administration for crafting a creative solution to address concerns regarding possible disruption of trade with Pakistan, and for doing so in way that does not unduly harm American textile manufacturers and our workers.

"Our industry has already suffered tremendous job losses in recent years as a result of unfairly priced imports from countries throughout Asia that have devalued their currencies, and we appreciate the fact that the Bush Administration is sensitive to this situation."

Hayes further noted that: "ATMI believes the various proposals being made by the Administration should adequately address the short-term concerns of US importers and those in Pakistan who fear a disruption in US trade with Pakistan because of unrest in the region. If real concerns arise in the longer-term, there are steps the US government can take to address this situation without further damaging US textile producers and our employees.

"Specifically, we understand the US Government is willing to use the Export-Import Bank to insure US exports to Pakistan against any interruptions due to war or terrorist attacks. ATMI has suggested that the Administration consider extending the same protection to textile and apparel imports from Pakistan.

"Further, we have suggested that the US Agency for International Development (AID) be directed to place orders for Pakistani textile and apparel products, should drop-offs occur in Pakistani exports to the US, and that the items purchased be distributed to Afghani and other refugees in Pakistan as a gesture of US goodwill."