Men's wear maker Hartmax wants Congress to make permanent a soon-to-expire law that protects its business.

The law eliminates duties for high-end fabrics used in producing men's suits and increases the quantity of fabric subject to reduced duties. It is, however, due to expire at the end of 2005.

Hartmax, which manufactures men's suits under labels such as Hickey-Freeman and Hart Schaffner & Marx, is the only publicly traded company that still produces suits in the United States

It wants the ruling to be extended or made permanent.

The law's chief sponsor, US Rep Phil Crane, has vowed to do everything he can to ensure that it is extended.