August 15, 2005--Negotiators from the U.S. and China will meet this week in San Francisco to discuss placing limits on textile imports from China. The two countries will try to end a trade dispute which has escalated since the beginning of the year, when a worldwide quota system on textile trade expired.
Since then, Chinese textile imports have leapt by 1,500%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This latest increase follows a decade-long rise in textile imports from China, which has damaged the U.S. textile industry, the Commerce Department added.
"This meeting should help small textile and apparel manufacturers who don't outsource their production and are rooted in their communities," said Jim Schollaert, director of industry relations for the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "This agreement would give some certainty and protection from predatory trade."
Employment in U.S. apparel and textile mills has dropped by over 50% from 1995 to 2004, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Textile imports from China have tripled in this time. Much of this increase came after 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization.
On May 22, China announced it would raise export tariffs on 74 types of clothing after the Bush administration threatened to place quotas on Chinese imports. However, this measure wasn't well-received by the U.S. and the European Union, and China announced on May 30 that it would end tariffs on 81 types of textile products on June 1.