American Shipper

U.S. textile importers urge end to Vietnam quotas

U.S. textile importers urge end to Vietnam quotas

The U.S. should eliminate textile and apparel quotas on goods from Vietnam as the European Union and Canada have done recently, an apparel importers group told the Bush administration.

   Vietnam is not currently a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and thus is not affected by the dropping away of textile and apparel quotas that becomes effective on Dec.31 at midnight for WTO members. However, Vietnam is negotiating terms of its accession to the WTO as it carries out bilateral trade commitments with the U.S.

   “A decision to isolate Vietnam as one of the only countries still restricted by textile and apparel quotas will harm U.S. companies as they make sourcing commitments,” the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) said in a statement.

   “If it remains under quota, Vietnam will be severely handicapped. That also raises the risk, when the Vietnamese government makes decisions regarding investments and market opening, that Vietnam will perceive the European Union and Canada as being closer allies than the U.S.,” USA-ITA asserted.

   After Jan. 1, the U.S. will have quota arrangements only with Vietnam and Belarus. A series of safeguards on importing textiles from China has been proposed by the Bush administration, but they are not part of the old system of restraints that ends irrevocably on New Year’s Eve.