US to step up monitoring of textile imports

Washington, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:46am hrs
The US government has said it would step up monitoring of textile and apparel imports to allow policymakers to more quickly analyse the impact of imports on the US market.

The move announced by the commerce department came days after US industry and labour leaders claimed they were being devastated by rising Chinese imports in the wake of the lifting of quotas on January 1.

The commerce department statement made no mention of China, but said the new system would help the government react faster to any change in trends.

The system will allow the department and the public timely access to preliminary textile and apparel data from US customs and border protection (aggregated on a category basis), allowing decision makers to more quickly analyse the impact of imports on the US market, the agency said in a statement.

The new system was expected to be in place by the first week in April, at which time preliminary data on textile and apparel imports for the first quarter of the year should be available. The preliminary data will be posted biweekly on a commerce department website.

Earlier this month, data from January showing a sharp rise in imports from China prompted protests from US industries. Importers however accused the textile groups of promoting hysteria and said freer trade is benefiting all countries.