The bottom line is this. We as American consumers have to make tough choices. Do we want to take advantage of the low, low prices at Walmart OR Do we want to spend a little more, take a little more time and if necessary make more than one stop to buy products manufactured in the US. Just like we now know how bad a steady diet of fast food is for our physical health. We also have to consider the impact of a steady diet of foreign goods is for the US economy. For the most part, I shop online so I can carefully choose the products I purchase. However, when US Airways lost my baggage last weekend, I found myself running into a Charleston, SC Walmart to purchase clothing to carry me through the weekend. I've had second thoughts ever since. plk
Read the entire story at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=513&e=3&u=/ap/20050404/ap_on_go_ot/textile_battle
WASHINGTON - Shirts, pants, underwear and a lot of other clothes made abroad have arrived in the United States by the bulging boatload since Jan. 1, when more than three decades of quotas ended.
Consumers are rejoicing over the lower prices.
But the domestic textile and apparel industry is complaining about the loss of thousands of jobs from what it contends is unfair competition.
It wants the Bush administration to move quickly to limit the soaring number of shipments from China.
The amount of goods that China is flooding into this market is so large that only the government can move quickly enough to prevent a lot of textile jobs from being lost," said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations.
According to data released Friday by the Commerce Department, China shipped 84.48 million cotton knit shirts to the United States in the first three months of this year, an increase of 1,258 percent from the same period a year ago.
Just three months after the quotas expired, U.S. manufacturers say the fallout has been swift and severe.
Another government report Friday showed the loss of 7,600 textile and apparel jobs, bringing job losses for the industry to 17,200 this year.
In the past three months, 14 textile plants in five states --- North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Virginia --- have shut down.
More could come, industry officials say, without federal action.
"The textile and apparel industry will experience severe job losses in 2005 unless the U.S. government decisively confronts China's predatory trade practices," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, an industry group.
For more than three decades, quotas restricted imports of clothes, yarns, cloth and other textiles to the United States and other wealthy nations.
Those barriers disappeared as part of an agreement in the last round of global trade talks.
The quotas have been phased out over 10 years.
But the United States and other nations kept controls on the biggest categories of clothing as long as was permitted, sheltering their domestic industries.
As expected, China has been the biggest beneficiary of the total elimination of quotas, reflecting the country's highly efficient manufacturing plants.
The quotas would cap growth in categories such as trousers and knit shirts to just 7.5 percent more than shipments of those goods during the previous 12 months.
Retailers, who benefit from lower-cost products, persuaded a court to block the government from considering the request, arguing there was no basis for quotas just because of the threat of higher imports.
Textile industry officials are preparing new requests for help.
They also are lobbying the administration to initiate cases rather than awaiting industry requests.
The industry hopes textile-state lawmakers will hinge their support of a free trade agreement with six Latin American countries --- a White House priority --- on an administration agreement to bring cases against China.
Summarized by Copernic Summarizer