[It’s not steel, but it’s another example where no one can figure out what the administration policy on trade really is … ]
The Bush administration is re-imposing quotas on three categories of clothing imports from China, responding to complaints from domestic producers that a surge of Chinese imports was threatening thousands of U.S. jobs.
The administration action will impose limits on the amount of cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear that China can ship to this country. American retailers say that will drive up prices for U.S. consumers.
In announcing the decision Friday, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said a government investigation had found that a surge in shipments from China since global quotas were eliminated on Jan. 1 was disrupting the domestic market.
The action will mean that shipments in the three categories will be permitted to increase this year by just 7.5 percent, compared with shipments over a 12-month base period.
U.S. retailers had fought against the re-imposition of quotas on China, arguing that it will mean higher costs for American consumers.
Laura Jones, executive director of the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, said the administration was going ahead with the action even though the latest trade data showed that clothing and textile imports from China actually declined in March after surging in January and February. She said the administration chose to ignore all the comments filed by U.S. retailers arguing against the action.
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