US WITHDRAWS ANOTHER CALL AGAINST IMPORTS FROM 3RD WORLD

US WITHDRAWS ANOTHER CALL AGAINST IMPORTS FROM 3RD WORLD

For the second time in a week, the U.S. government has backed off from an attempt to curb imports from a developing nation.

This time, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements decided to drop calls against the Philippines for its U.S.-bound exports of luggage and wool garments. The decision followed a move, also made last week, to drop calls against Thailand on man-made fiber luggage, known in the trade as category 670L, and imports of artificial spun yarns, category 603.A call is a formal notification from the United States that a country's exports are damaging U.S. industry and that the United States wants to impose trade restraints.

Michael Hutchinson, CITA's acting chairman, said the decision was made

because domestic production of luggage and yarn has increased since the calls on luggage were issued in the spring, while imports of Philippine wool coats have dropped significantly.

CITA was not responding to decisions recently issued by the Textile Monitoring Body, an international panel that watches world trade in textiles, said Mr. Hutchinson. Over the summer, the TMB handed the U.S. government only partial victories when it reviewed U.S. disputes with India over wool and with Costa Rica and Honduras over supplies of underwear.

"We're not reacting to any TMB decision. We judge each case on its merits," Mr. Hutchinson said.

An official at the Philippine Embassy in Washington said the government was obviously happy that the calls had been dropped.

"We tried to tell them (U.S. government) that there had never been serious damage to the U.S. industry," said the official, who declined to be identified. The country has no other calls lodged against it by the U.S. government.

The official said the country's exports of women's and girl's suits, known as category 444, dropped to 43,896 dozen for the year ending July 1995, down

from nearly 75,000 dozen for the year ending February 1995.

In late April, CITA issued calls against three countries for imports of man-made fiber luggage. The Philippines is one of eight countries against which the United States has lodged calls for wool imports. While some of the cases have been settled or dropped, the TMB is hearing the case against Hong Kong in Geneva this week.