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|Greene Joins in Textile Caucus Briefing|
NCC Chairman Bobby Greene participated in a briefing of the Congressional Textile Caucus as part of the continuing textile and fiber industry effort to persuade the Bush Administration to initiate safeguards to curb textile imports from China.
The briefing coincided with the filing of China safeguard petitions in 4 product areas with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).
Greene told members of the caucus that the NCC’s involvement in the initiative is prompted by a major flow of Chinese imports in 8 cotton-containing textile categories following the lifting of import quotas at the end of ’01.
The textile safeguard is a critical component of China’s accession agreement into the World Trade Organization. It may be implemented if the US market is disrupted to the point that orderly development of free trade is threatened. In a news conference announcing the petitions, Allen Gant, CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., said, "The orderly development of trade in the US textile and apparel market is not merely threatened; it is under an unprecedented attack from a flood of illegally subsidized Chinese imports."
CITA will decide whether to invoke the special textile China safeguard. Under the safeguard procedures, CITA has 15 business days to determine if the petition is in order, followed by a 30-day public comment period. CITA then has 60 days to make a determination on the petition.
|China Issues New TRQ Regulations|
China issued a new set of regulations governing the importation of agricultural commodities under Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs), mainly designed to simplify some aspects of TRQ administration and also to shift responsibilities for administration to different agencies. China recently reorganized several agencies governing agriculture and trade, and these regulations are issued, at least in part, to finalize that reorganization.
The NCC is reviewing the new rules to determine if China has made any progress in removing its restrictions on imported cotton to the "processing trade." Previous rules issued by China restricted access to much of the TRQ for cotton fiber to companies that agreed to re-export the resulting textile product. NCC has challenged these restrictions as being inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules and the US-China accession agreement.
While China committed to US Ambassador Johnson, the US chief agricultural trade negotiator, that it would remove the "processing trade" distinction in its TRQ implementation, the new rules do not appear to go that far and appear to keep the "processing trade" requirements in place.
NCC will continue to work with the US government in an effort to get China to comply with its agreements.
|CAFTA Negotiators Review Customs, Short Supply Issues|
NCC consultant Gaylon Booker was in New Orleans this week to participate in another round of Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations. Discussions focused primarily on customs issues and workable provisions to define and administer short supply matters. US negotiators reported that substantial progress was made on the customs issues, with uncertainty continuing to surround short supply provisions.
Proposals related to the issue of trade preference levels (TPLs) were not tabled by the Central American delegation. There were some discussions on rules of origin, but the Central Americans requested that discussions be delayed until the next meeting because of errors in the text they initially tabled. The next meeting is scheduled in September in Nicaragua following the World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting in Cancun.
Booker met with US negotiators as well as US and Central American textile and apparel retail leaders. The NCC is working with other US textile and fiber interests with a goal of completing a timely CAFTA that will help promote trade in this hemisphere while avoiding counterproductive provisions such as unworkable rules of origin and TPLs.
|NCC Urges Use of Approved Bale Packaging Materials|
The NCC is reminding ginners, warehousemen and bale packaging suppliers about the importance of using only USDA-approved bale packaging materials.
In a letter sent to NCC member firms, US cotton industry interest organizations and commercial packaging firms, NCC Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee (JCIBPC) Chairman Keith Pendergrass said, "Use of materials that do not meet the established standards for cotton bale packaging materials is a violation of USDA requirements and many U.S. trading rules. Ginners and warehousemen, in partnership with packaging suppliers, are strongly encouraged to take the necessary steps to ensure the use of only approved packaging materials."
The Georgia ginner said wrapping or tying bales with materials that do not meet JCIBPC specifications can: 1) make cotton bales ineligible for Commodity Credit Corp. loan and other farm program benefits and 2) violate many US trading rules. He said the use of approved bagging and ties also is important for helping US cotton maintain its outstanding reputation in the world marketplace.
Dale Thompson, the NCC’s manager of Marketing and Processing Technology, said NCC staff has been made aware that some bale bags without the required identification markings have been offered for sale to the cotton industry. He reminded industry members that bale packaging specifications define the minimum acceptable marking that must appear on the bags, and that only polyethylene film, woven polypropylene and woven polyethylene bags made in NAFTA countries can be considered for approval.
"Identification markings are required to be printed on each bag to help assure the buyer that bags have been officially tested and certified to meet industry and government specifications," Thompson noted.
The JCIBPC List of Approved Bagging Manufacturers & Importers is available on this site. The approved materials specifications can be found in the Specifications for Cotton Bale Packaging Materials also on this site. Questions should be directed to Thompson at (901) 274-9030.
|Export Shipments Reach 11.8 Million-Bale Record|
Total export shipments to date are 11.8 million bales (480-lb.), based on shipments of 361,400 bales for the week ending July 24. If shipments for the final week of the marketing year equal the average of the past 4 weeks, total marketing year ’02 export shipments will be 12.1 million bales. USDA’s last export estimate was 11.6 million bales. Export sales for the marketing year are almost 13.4 million bales. Total new-crop (’03-04) sales are 1.7 million bales.
|June’s Annualized Rate of Mill Use at 6.56 Million Bales|
Cotton consumption in domestic mills for June (5-week month) was 306.4 million pounds, for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.56 million 480-pound bales, according to the Commerce Department. Last year’s June annualized rate was 7.94 million bales.
The May (4-week month) estimate of domestic mill use was raised 1 million pounds to 260.5 million. The revised seasonally adjusted annualized consumption rate for May is 6.76 million bales, down from last May's annualized rate of 7.71 million bales.
Based on Commerce estimates for the period Aug. 1, ’02, through July 5, ’03, projected total pounds consumed during crop year ’02-03 would be 3.56 billion pounds or 7.42 million bales. USDA’s latest estimate of ’03 crop year mill use is 7.3 million bales.
Preliminary July domestic mill use of cotton and revised June figures will be released by Commerce Aug. 28.
|Senate Vote Finalizes Chile, Singapore Trade Pacts|
The Senate approved free trade pacts with Chile and Singapore, giving both nations the final Congressional go-ahead and ushering in what Bush Administration officials hope will be a new era in trade negotiations.
The Senate voted 66-31 in favor of the Chile trade bill and 66-32 for Singapore, reflecting strong bipartisan backing for both bills. The House passed the agreements earlier by wide margins.
A coalition of manufacturers, farm groups, high-tech, entertainment and services companies backed the agreements, which add to existing US free trade deals with Canada, Mexico, Jordan and Israel. The Administration also is negotiating deals with the Dominican Republic, Australia, Morocco and South Africa.
|Longstanding Mexico Documentation Issue Resolved|
USDA published a notification that the Commodity Credit Corp. is clarifying its policy regarding the necessary documentation needed to provide proof of export and/or import for railcars or trucks entering Mexico. The modification allows a dually signed Export Verification Certificate accompanied by an unstamped "Pedimento de Importacion" to satisfy regulatory requirements, whereas previously only a Pedimento stamped by Mexican Customs Authorities fulfilled that requirement.
The requirement of a stamped Pedimento often resulted in payment delays and higher costs for US suppliers. Cotton Council International and the NCC worked closely with the American Cotton Shippers Assn., AMCOT and USDA’s General Sales Manager’s office and COTS Division to find a workable solution to this decades-old issue.
|Congressional Staffers Tour Cotton Areas in August|
The NCC will host 28 Congressional staff members who represent 12 states on two August tours as part of the Congressional Staff Education/Orientation Program. The program is designed to raise urban lawmaker awareness of US cotton, its contributions to the nation and the industry’s need to compete profitably in the global marketplace. The Cotton Foundation funds the program through a special project sponsorship by Monsanto.
The first tour, Aug. 12-15, begins in Raleigh, NC, with a tour of Cotton Incorporated. The group will then travel to Memphis to visit a USDA classing office, tour a farming operation and visit NCC headquarters. Mississippi Delta visits include Monsanto’s Leland Experiment Station and the Stoneville Gin Lab, with research overviews provided by the Agriculture Research Service and Mississippi State U. The trip will conclude with a tour of the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans.
The 2nd tour, scheduled for Aug. 25-28, will focus on western and southwestern cotton production. Tour participants will visit an oil mill, a farm, a warehouse, a denim mill and the USDA gin lab during their stay in Lubbock. In Arizona, the group will tour a USDA Classing Office in Phoenix, visit an Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council project and tour the Salt River Project.
|Prices Effective August 1-7, 2003|