GAO says textile safeguard procedures need clarity
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report stating that textile and apparel safeguard procedures used by the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) should be improved to clarify how CITA will proceed in threat-based cases.
The GAO's report was prepared in response to a request from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees during the last Congress. Although most of the investigation for the report occurred between January 2004 and January 2005, the report itself concentrates on what has happened since the fall of 2004.
'CITA has applied safeguard quotas in response to four out of five U.S. industry requests,' the GAO noted. However, 'procedural shortcomings have impaired effective application of the China textile safeguard,' the report said.
'CITA's procedures created uncertainty about when, how, and under what circumstances CITA would consider threat-based requests. Seventeen months elapsed before CITA issued any procedures about the China textile safeguard, and the procedures did not clearly indicate how CITA would proceed in threat-based cases. Also, a court-ordered injunction prevents further government consideration of threat-based cases until litigation is resolved,' the report said.
Although the GAO does not take any position on the legal issues involved, it does say that 'the unavailability of production data on about 20 percent of textile and apparel product categories — data that is necessary to fulfill CITA filing requirements — inhibits equal access to the safeguard.'
Beyond those issues, 'uncertainty about future development in global textile trade makes the future impact of the safeguard unclear,' the report explained.