UNITE Letter to Commerce Secretary Regarding CAFTA and China Safeguards

UNITE organizations sent letter to Undersecretary of Commerce Aldonas which reviewed the unified textile industry’s priorities for the CAFTA talks and for trade in general.

Published: February 27, 2002
Updated: December 9, 2003

The Honorable Grant Aldonas
Undersecretary of Commerce
U.S.
Department of Commerce
Washington, DC20230

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On the eve of the final round of CAFTA negotiations, the undersigned organizations representing a significant majority of U.S. textile and fiber interests would like to take this opportunity to review the unified textile industry’s priorities for the talks and for trade in general.

Regarding the China safeguard actions, we thank you again for your personal assistance in getting this approved. Approval of the safeguards has sent a powerful message to China that its disruptive level of U.S. market access for textile and apparel products is in doubt for the future. Now, we are looking for the government to demonstrate its resolve by acting quickly to impose the quotas. 

We are concerned that delay on the government’s part could be misinterpreted by the Chinese and must be avoided. Over the coming months, we look forward to working with you on a comprehensive solution to the Chinese problem, one which introduces restraint into China’s future textile and apparel exports and also attacks the core anti-competitive illegal trade practices that give China an unassailable edge in textile and apparel trade.

With regard to CAFTA, we are pleased that, in an effort to move the talks along, the industry has proposed an innovative short supply process that introduces CAFTA sourcing flexibility characterized by ease of use and rapid turnaround time for items that are truly in short supply. This revolutionary new concept, which was developed by the U.S. textile industry leadership in cooperation with Central American apparel manufacturers, represents our commitment to a CAFTA agreement that works for all concerned. 

It answers the need for flexibility in a rapidly changing marketplace while preventing free riders such as China and other third party countries in this hemisphere or elsewhere from taking orders from U.S. mills and causing the loss of U.S. textile jobs.

As 169 members of Congress have noted in letters to the President, TPLs and other exceptions that help third party countries at the expense of U.S. and participating regional textile producers cannot be supported. “Flexibility” cannot be another name for sourcing third party country products. In these difficult economic times, with millions of manufacturing workers still without jobs, the last thing we should be doing is creating special exceptions for third party countries that will cost this country precious U.S. jobs. Consequently, we are firmly opposed to both tariff preference levels and cumulation.

We firmly believe that including such job-destroying loopholes will so poison this agreement that it will become impossible to pass in Congress, which would be a shame now that a workable short supply process is available. 

Thank you for your assistance. We look forward to working with you on these important issues during the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you,

Roger Milliken and George W. Shuster
American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition

James W. Chesnutt
American Textile Manufacturers Institute 

William Giblin
National Textile Association

Steve Dobbins
American Yarn Spinners Association

Geoff Schofield
A
merican Fiber Manufacturers Association

Robert Greene
National Cotton Council

Bruce Raynor
UNITE                                                   

cc:

Secretary Donald Evans
David Spooner
Regina
Vargo
Jim Leonard
Textile Caucus