U.S. to fight India's textile challenge in WTO
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U.S. to fight India's textile challenge in WTO

Thursday, 19 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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The Bush administration has voiced its determination to fight India's challenge in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to U.S. textile rules restricting imports.

WASHINGTON: "We maintain that our rules comply with our international obligations," said a U.S. Commerce Department report to Congress released here Wednesday.

India has claimed that certain amendments of U.S. rules of origin for textile fabrics and made-up articles are in violation of the WTO Agreement on the rules.

At India's request, a WTO dispute panel challenging the U.S. rules of origin for textiles and apparel was established on June 24, 2002. The composition of the panel is to be decided and there is no firm date yet for the initial hearing.

"We will maintain our position and fight India's claim in the WTO dispute settlement process," the report said.

The Bush administration has reiterated its opposition to demands from developing countries that the U.S. accelerate elimination of quotas on textile imports required under the WTO agreement.

The report restated its position that language adopted at a 2001 WTO ministers' meeting in Doha, Qatar, will not limit use of U.S. antidumping laws for textile imports.

The document described how the administration is seeking to open foreign markets to U.S. textiles, to ensure foreign compliance with existing textile trade agreements, to fight illegal textile trans-shipments and to persuade developing countries to diversify their economies into non-textile sectors.

The 1994 agreement that created the WTO required the U.S. and other countries to phase out their decades-old textile quotas by 2005. "We will continue to actively oppose all calls for accelerating the growth in textile quotas beyond the gradual phase-out mandated" by the WTO agreement, the report stated.

The report showed how the U.S. rejected requests in 2001 for additional textile import quotas from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

The U.S. will also defend its position in a WTO challenge brought by China over U.S. interpretation of quota expansion, it said.

Ministers at the Doha meeting had mentioned in the declaration that countries should exercise "particular consideration" before initiating antidumping investigations on textile imports from developing countries.

The administration report, however, said the U.S. would not budge from its existing standards for initiating a case.

Source: IANS

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