WTO to meet on textile quotas

WTO to meet on textile quotas

Representatives of the Global Alliance for Fair Textile Trade (GAFTT) and The European Apparel and Textile Organization (Euratex) welcomed a WTO meeting scheduled for next week to address the critical issue of quotas on textile and apparel trade.

The textile and apparel groups, representing 65 countries around the world, have joined forces with other trade groups to pressure the WTO to reconsider the pending elimination of quotas on textiles and apparel, scheduled for next Jan. 1.

But the groups also expressed concern that some of the largest textile and apparel exporting nations have not been invited to the Aug. 3 meeting of WTO Heads of Delegations.

GAFTT and Euratex called on the Director General of the WTO to invite many other countries whose economies heavily depend on revenues from textile exports. "For Nepal, this is a matter of life or death," said Shaym Kehtani, first vice president, Garment Association-Nepal. "Already, our industry's exports have fallen by two-thirds in the last year. We have already seen thousands of workers lose their jobs. The WTO must act decisively to preserve our remaining jobs and the promise of fair trade for our workers."

Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said, "The exclusion from the meeting next week of many countries which are deeply dependent on textile and apparel exports is troubling. For a fair and balanced hearing, we urge that the Heads of Delegation meeting be open to all interested countries."

Countries slated to attend the meeting are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lesotho, Mauritius, Norway, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States.