A group that includes some of the poorest textile-manufacturing nations is urging the U.S. government to approve the remainder of a series of China textile safeguard petitions filings announced by the U.S. textile and apparel industry.

The Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade, a coalition of 96 textile and clothing associations from 54 countries, threw its support behind the filings, which are aimed at preventing China from gaining total dominance of the U.S. textile market when worldwide textile quotas expire on Jan. 1.

"The U.S. government must approve the petitions if millions of textile and clothing workers from around the globe are not to see their jobs destroyed and moved to China," the GAFTT said in a statement. “The safeguard petitions will prevent China from taking more than $37 billion in textile and apparel exports in these items which are currently being supplied by dozens of other countries.”

As of today, nine of the 13 threat-based petitions announced on Oct. 12 by a coalition of six U.S. apparel, textile and fiber producing trade associations and a textile workers Union have been filed.

The latest was a petition filed on Category 447, Wool Trousers, by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, National Council of Textile Organizations, National Textile Association, SEAMS, and the labor union UNITEHERE! CITA has 15 working days from today's date to accept or reject the petition for consideration for a decision on the merits that likely would be made in February 2005.

A spokesman for the groups said the United States imported $310.9 million worth of wool trousers in 2003. At least $14.0 million of those imports came from China.

In 2002, the latest year where annual data is available, the United States produced 512,000 dozen wool trousers with an estimated value of $143.4 million.

The threat-based safeguard petitions cover 15 of the 91 product categories on which U.S. quotas will expire on Jan. 1.In addition, the coalition is actively examining the possibility of filing additional threat-based petitions covering other categories as the merits of the facts allow.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com