and EU Textile Industries Call for Real Market Access for U.S. and EU Workers
Oppose Industry Sell-Outs to Protectionist Countries that Could Cost Hundreds of Thousands of U.S. and EU Jobs
At Eurocoton forty nine’s Annual Meeting on 5 June 2007, Eurocoton and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) reiterated that they would oppose tariff cutting formulas in the Doha Round that slash existing real market access and put at risk the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of U.S. and EU textile workers. The organizations also urged the U.S. government and the EU Commission to aggressively attack countries that use on the one side, non-tariff administrative barriers and on the other, subsidies, currency manipulation and other predatory policies which undermine manufacturing jobs and the quality of life in Europe and the U.S.
Cass Johnson, President of NCTO, stated: “Our industries are strongly opposed to Doha “solutions” currently under consideration that would allow the central government in China to dominate world production of textiles and apparel under the guise of “increased market access.” The Doha negotiations are supposed to increase trade, not hand it over to countries which do not play by the rules.”
Thomas Lanaras, President of Eurocoton stated, “NAMA formulas that do not take into account the protectionist policies of China and major producers in the textile sector can only yield massive job losses in the E.U. and the U.S.A. We cannot support NAMA formulas which allow protectionist exporters to continue to shield their industries behind subsidies, currency manipulation and high tariff walls while trading away the last defenses our industries enjoy. Instead, our governments should support a sectoral solution which, on the tariffs side, would be equitable by providing for tariff reciprocity at levels that would still preserve attractiveness to existing preferential tariff duty rate, rather than to slash them.
Indeed, NCTO and Eurocoton urge their respective governments to work closely together to ensure that U.S. and European textile industries, and manufacturing in general, achieve real market access for their products and their workers. Such steps should include the use of punitive measures against currency manipulators and the aggressive use of countervailing duty, dumping and WTO dispute
cases against those countries that continue to flout the rule of law. The groups noted a rising tide of concern in Europe and the U.S. regarding the costs of globalization at home and the weak responses of government to date in attacking unfair practices. Both groups praised the U.S. government for placing 20% punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese coated paper products; the case is important because it is the first time a government has directly attacked preferential loan rates, income tax rebates and other mercantilist policies promoted by the Chinese government.
In particular, the industries drew attention to the potential impact on U.S. and EU textile employment once safeguards on sensitive categories with China are removed. According to government statistics, China has been able to gain a two-thirds share of both the EU and the U.S. markets in past cases when textile and apparel quotas have been removed. This has resulted in enormous jobs losses in textile sectors in the U.S. and the EU. The organizations warned that if China is allowed to gain a similar share in the sensitive categories still under control, then U.S. and EU industries would be devastated. They also noted that key developing and least developing countries around the world which depend on the U.S. and EU export markets to provide critical employment in their countries would be hit even harder. Depending on the market concerned, these countries may include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, the African bloc, Central America and Mexico. The groups urged both governments to ensure that Chinese exports in key categories continue to be kept under restraint after the safeguards expire. In particular, as far as EU is concerned, an early decision is needed by the European Commission in respect of textile and apparel trade with China in the year 2008, during which time, contrary to the USA and others, the EU market will no longer be the subject of safeguard quotas.