The US International Trade Commission (ITC) is launching an investigation into the competitiveness of several foreign textile and apparel suppliers to the US market - and is keen to receive input from "all interested parties."
  
The investigation was requested by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) last month to help prepare for the quota phase-out by 1 January 2005. "It may be that significant changes will occur in the global pattern of production, trade, and consumption of these products. It would be most helpful for the Administration to be able to anticipate the nature of these changes as much as possible," it said.

The ITC will investigate factors such as competitiveness, textile and apparel consumption, production, employment, and prices in major textile and apparel exporting countries, as well as their textile and apparel trade, particularly with industrial country markets. The research will focus on Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Macao, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey - which were identified in consultation with USTR staff as significant ATC suppliers to the US market.

Mexico and other supplying countries with preferential access to the US market, such as Israel and Jordan, will also be studied.

The ITC will submit its confidential report, 'Textiles and Apparel: Assessment of the Competitiveness of Certain Foreign Suppliers to the US Market,' to the USTR by 30 June 2003.

It says it is particularly interested in receiving input on the competitive strengths and weaknesses of the textile and apparel industries in the countries covered by the investigation.

Further information on the selected countries can be requested from the investigation's project leaders, Robert Wallace, by telephone (202-205-3458) or e-mail (wallace@usitc.gov) or Kimberlie Freund, by telephone (202-708-5402) or e-mail (kfreund@usitc.gov).

The Uruguay Round Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) entered into force with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements in 1995 and created special interim rules to govern trade in textiles and apparel among WTO members for 10 years. The ATC calls for the gradual and complete elimination by 1 January 2005, of import quotas on textiles and apparel that were established by the United States and other importing countries under the Multifiber Agreement and predecessor arrangements.