A coalition of 19 US textile sector organisations have written to President George Bush opposing 'carryforward' practises by overseas importers.

Carryforward, a provision contained in many textile trade agreements, allows importers to borrow from their next year's allocated quota for use in the current year.

The coalition, headed by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), have asked President Bush to forbid the practise in 2004, since the abolition of quotas in 2005 could allow importers unlimited carryforward for the current year.

Other supporters of the campaign include the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and workers' rights group UNITE.

"Any carryforward given to the importers and retailers in 2004 will almost certainly destroy thousands of jobs in the US textile and apparel sector," AMTAC Washington coordinator Auggie Tantillo said.

"For years, the importers and retailers have been borrowing against next year's quota to boost job-destroying textile and apparel imports."

"AMTAC strongly supports a continuation of textile quotas beyond 2004, but if quotas are to disappear, the importers and retailers should be forced to pay the piper for all the years they have been borrowing from the next year's allotment."

More than 323,000 US textile sector jobs have been lost since January 2001.