|US Request for Consultation Triggers China Quotas|
The US requested consultations with China on 3 categories of textile and apparel products, a move that activates import quotas on those products for the next 12 months. The US action follows the Nov. 18 announcement that the Commerce Department had determined that the US industry’s petitions demonstrated imports had surged to the level that caused market disruptions.
The industry petitions and subsequent ruling, followed by the formal action on Dec. 24, are consistent with the terms of the so-called textile safeguard provisions contained in China's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession agreement, which allows WTO members to place quotas on Chinese products if imports threaten orderly marketing due to market disruptions.
The Dec. 24 action will result in establishment of quotas limiting imports in the 3 affected categories to 7.5% above the shipment levels in the first 12 months of the 14 months preceding the request. China’s exports can continue to grow at this reduced rate, which still exceeds US market growth.
Under the safeguard procedure, the consultations requested on Dec. 24 must begin within 30 days and conclude within 90 days. The quotas will remain in place unless the consultations result in mutual agreement to somehow address the market disruption caused by imports of the covered products. The products are: knit fabrics, bras and dressing gowns and robes. According to a notice published in the Dec. 29 Federal Register citing the justification for the action, the Commerce Department said imports of bras increased 159% from ’00 to ’02, imports of dressing gowns and robes surged by 736% and knit fabrics increased from 93,500 lbs. to 20 million lbs. during the same period.
If the consultations do not result in mutually agreeable alternative action, the quotas will remain in place until Dec. 23, ’04.
|’04 Beltwide Offering Tomorrow’s Solutions|
The ’04 Beltwide Cotton Conferences opens its 5-day run on Jan. 5 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, TX. More than 3,000 are expected at this forum, which will provide an extensive update of research and technology, including practical on-farm applications, and insight on farm law, trade and other key issues affecting cotton industry members’ profitability.
NCC Chairman Robert W. Greene will address and preside over the 49th annual Cotton Production Conference’s opening session on Jan. 6, with American Cotton Producers Chairman Mark Williams presiding over the Jan. 7 session. That conference will offer reports ranging from “Positioning US Raw Cotton in the Global Market” to “Living with Limited Water Resources.”
That forum’s information-packed afternoon sessions will include a recently-added session where Natural Resource Conservation Service officials will discuss the newly released proposed regulation on implementation of the new Conservation Security Program and how producers may qualify. Other seminars and workshops will focus on farm support mechanisms, precision agriculture, decision aids, nematode management, new industry developments, options and more.
Attendees also have access to The Cotton Foundation Technical Exhibit and to the conferences’ 12 cotton technical conferences which convene Jan. 8-9.
|November’s Annualized Mill Use Estimated at 6.64 Million Bales|
Cotton consumption by domestic mills for the 4 weeks of November was 235.9 million pounds, for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.64 million 480-lb. bales, according to the Commerce Department. The November ’02 annualized rate was 7.61 million bales.
The October (4-weeks) estimate was lowered 1.6 million pounds to 239.9 million. The revised seasonally adjusted annualized rate of consumption for October is 6.16 million bales. The annualized rate in October ’02 was 7.48 million bales.
Preliminary December domestic mill use and revised November figures will be released Jan. 28.
|Annual Meeting Reservation Deadline Jan. 5|
The deadline for making room reservations for the NCC’s Jan. 29-Feb. 2 Annual Meeting in New Orleans is Monday, Jan. 5. The special room rate at the New Orleans Marriott is $184 for single or double occupancy, and the rate will be honored after the cut-off date based on the availability of convention-rated rooms.
All reservations must be accompanied by a first-night room deposit or be guaranteed with a major credit card. The hotel will confirm the reservation directly to the individual. The room rate will be honored 3 days before and 3 days after the meeting dates, based on availability.
Contact information for the Marriott: Phone - 800-228-9290 (ask for the NCC group rate); FAX - download the hotel reservation form (53k PDF file), available from the NCC web site, www.cotton.org, complete it and fax it to 504-553-5625; Online - make your reservation online via the Marriott web site, www.marriott.com.
|Comments Sought on Panama, Andean Trade Agreements|
The International Trade Commission (ITC) Dec. 29 requested public comments on the probable economic effect of a US-Panama Free Trade Agreement and a free trade agreement between the US and the Andean countries of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.
US Trade Representative Zoellick in a letter dated Dec. 8 requested that the ITC provide advice on the effect on US industries of providing duty-free treatment to products from Panama and the 4 Andean countries. Ambassador Zoellick previously announced the Administration’s plans to seek a free trade agreement with Panama and to begin talks with the Andean countries.
Written comments are due on Feb. 17. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10. The ITC report will be submitted to USTR by April 8.
|Yost Named FSA Associate Administrator|
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Jim Little announced Dec. 22 the appointment of Michael W. Yost to serve as FSA’s Associate Administrator for Programs, effective Jan. 12.
He will be responsible for administering commodity, loans, conservation and disaster assistance programs. A Murdock, MN, farmer who produces corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa, Yost formerly served as chairman of the American Soybean Assn. and American Oilseed Coalition.
|Changes in EPA Management Announced|
Earlier this month, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs announced that Lois Rossi would be resuming her former position as director of the Registration Division. Rossi will succeed outgoing acting director Debbie Edwards, who has been asked to be director of the Special Re-Registration Division (SRRD).
Rossi has worked closely with the NCC in the past to assist in the registration of conventional pesticides and herbicides as well as the development of policy that governs how these products are used by the grower. Rossi had been on a 6-month sabbatical in Europe for the EPA while Edwards directed the registration of new products and uses. Edwards will take her management staff with her to SRRD, while Betty Shackleford, outgoing acting director of SRRD, will assume a position as Rossi’s assistant director.
|’03 Cotton Counts Its Customers Report Available|
The ’03 edition of Cotton Counts Its Customers (CCIC), the NCC’s annual market research report, is now available. CCIC has been published by the NCC since ’39 and draws on data supplied from personal contacts within the textile industry, the US Department of Commerce and various trade publications.
The ’03 edition includes data for ’00-02. The report is available only as an Adobe PDF file. No printed copies of the ’03 edition are available.
The report is available at no cost to NCC members from the NCC web site. Non-members may receive a copy for a fee by contacting the NCC Economic Services Department, P.O. Box 820285, Memphis, TN 38182-0285, Fax (901) 725-0510, E-mail email@example.com.
|Changes Made in Industry Trade Groups|
CropLife America (CLA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Assn. (ARA), while remaining independent in their operations, have agreed to an organizational effort that will cover certain areas of policy and advocacy and create an interdependent relationship to ensure that all of their issues are addressed. The trade groups represent the manufacturers of pesticides and fertilizer and the retailers that sell them.
The agreement was structured to create more efficient, cost-effective organizations, as many of the groups’ members belong to more than one of these organizations and had some areas of overlapping efforts. Under the new agreement, CLA and TFI will give their retail and distribution responsibilities over to ARA and disband those respective committees. Additionally, CLA and TFI will provide significant funding to ARA to help in conducting its activities. In return, ARA will provide openings on its board of directors for CLA and TFI representatives to provide input into ARA’s activities. The relationship allows closer coordination on policy and advocacy efforts by the groups.
|Decision Reached in Washington Toxic Coalition Case|
A decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to restrict the usage of pesticides was issued by Judge Coughenour in Seattle. The case, Washington Toxics Coalition v. EPA, charged that the EPA did not fulfill its duties under the Endangered Species Act to protect endangered species by consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Services on the effects pesticides may have on species or habitat.
While no reports have been filed regarding harm to a species, Judge Coughenour imposed mandatory use buffers on the more than 40 products that were included in an earlier EPA settlement with the Washington Toxic Coalition. The buffers begin at the high-water mark around rivers and extend 20 yards for ground application and 100 yards for aerial application. The decision is the first case to impose restrictions on the use of pesticides by anyone other than the EPA and is the first of many lawsuits to have judgments rendered.
Lawyers from Earthjustice were preparing an order for judgment, to which the EPA can object and propose revisions.
|Export Sales for Week Ending Dec. 18|
Net export sales for the week ending Dec. 18 were 242,000 bales (480-lb.), resulting in total ’03-04 sales of almost 9.2 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’02-03 marketing year were approximately 7.1 million bales. Total new crop (’04-05) sales are 336,600 bales (480-lb.).
Shipments for the week were 256,600 bales, bringing total exports to date to 3.5 million bales, ahead of the 3 million bales at the comparable point in the ’02-03 marketing year.
|Prices Effective December 26-January 1, 2004|