WASHINGTON — The United States will bring trade cases against China to determine whether quotas should be re-imposed to protect textile and clothing manufacturers against a surge in Chinese imports, the Bush administration said Monday.
The decision represents a major victory for U.S. manufacturers, who had been pressing the administration to bring these cases on its own rather than waiting for the industry to petition the government for relief, a process that could take a longer period of time.
The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, an interagency panel that includes officials from Commerce and other agencies, voted Monday to launch investigations in three clothing categories: cotton knit shirts and blouses; cotton trousers; and underwear made of cotton and man-made fibers.
Textile and apparel manufacturers in the United States have been pressing for help from the government, contending that imported products had forced 14 plants in five states to close since the beginning of the year and resulted in the loss of thousands of American jobs.
At the beginning of this year, a global quota system that had limited the amount of textile shipments into the United States expired after more than three decades.