Textile Protective Measures

Introduction

Facing the ever tough worldwide competitiveness, the textile industry in many countries on one hand are losing out their international market share, while on the other hand domestic markets also being flooded with cheap imported goods. Production plummet, jobs cut and factories closing down. They are restlessly  appealing for help from the government to adopt protective measures.

Philippines Calls to Delay AFTA

A number of key manufacturing industries in the Philippines have petitioned the Philippines government to postpone implementation of the tariff reduction provisions of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

The call for a “go slow” policy has been led by the domestic textile industry which has been struggling with a rising tide of low cost imports from China and elsewhere.

Under the AFTA agreement, the Philippines is obligated to lower its imports tariffs on a range of manufactures products – including textiles and apparel. However, AFTA members do have the option of postponing tariff reductions while business conditions are reviewed and the impact of tariff reductions are analyzed.

The textile industry has asked that the government postpone tariff reductions for textiles and apparel for 6 to 12 months awaiting review by the government of which products should be liberalized and which should not.

To date, the Filipino government has only notified the AFTA council that it will take more time to review tariff structures in petrochemicals. No mentioned has been made of postponing reductions in other products.

Indonesia to Impose Limitations On Textile Imports

The  Ministry of Industry and Trade, Indonesia has issued a decree to limit textile imports in a bid to help the local industry affected by the massive quantities of cheap imports with effect from 1 November 2002. Under the new decree,  Indonesian  textile producers can only import textile products for used  as  raw  material  or  supplements  for the production process of the "importers-producers"  and  may  not be sold or transferred to others. They must  also seek approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and report
the  realization  of the imports to the ministry every month. Import duties on garments in Indonesia is currently range from 15 to 25 percent.

USA: ATMI Blasts Indonesian Textile Import Ban

The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) on 3rd November 2002 called on the Bush Administration to take immediate action over Indonesia’s decision to ban textile imports.

ATMI chairman Van May blasted the ban as illegal and in breach of WTO rules. He also criticised the Indonesian government for imposing such a sweeping ban in response to increased imports from only one nation – China. 

ATMI propose that a fair response to Indonesia would be to prohibit imports of Indonesian textile goods, which totaled $350 million last year until the ban is lifted.

Bangladesh Unveil Industry Blueprint

The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) on early November unveiled its blueprint for the clothing industry's future, which includes the withdrawal of all duties and taxes.

BTMA officials said they do not want cash incentives put forward under an alternative plan by the government, but low-interest loans, a 25% rebate on utility bills and port charges at international levels.

They also want the ready-made garment and textile industries brought under the umbrella of one ministry to avoid confusion, and downward adjustment of banking charges. The association also called for a crackdown on fabric and apparel smugglers. The government were urged to set up specific entry points throughout the country to better manage a surge in low-cost imports of yarns and fabrics from India and other suppliers.

China Imposed Anti-Dumping Measures On Korean Polyester

China has initiated temporary anti-dumping measures against South Korean imports of polyester staple fiber, state media reported on November 2002. The decision followed a probe into claims last year the imports were hitting domestic polyester staple fiber producers hard.

The ministry now requires importers of South Korean polyester staple fiber to provide customs officials with cash deposits, although it did not specify a sum.

Israel: Calls For Surcharge On Chinese Imports

The Manufacturers Association's textile division is demanding a15-20% surtax on imports from China to help local manufacturers recapture lost sales.

Massive cheap Asian imports have hit sales at 45% of Israel's textile factories, leading to a loss of some 5,500 jobs. It estimates more than 70 textile factories have been forced to relocate to low-cost areas over the past year. 

Asia products have surged in recent years. For the first six months of 2002, apparel imports from all Asian suppliers reached $335 million, up 16% from comparable 2001 levels.

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