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Filing seeking tariffs on Chinese fabrics was just a draft, says official

But U.S. group may still pursue remedy against imports

An official with the National Textile Assn. said this week that a July 15 filing seeking U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made upholstery fabrics was only a draft document that wasn't meant to be a formal petition.

But the association still may be interested in pursuing a "trade remedy" to deal with the Chinese imports, said David Trumbull, the vice president of international trade with the NTA.

The NTA had made the filing with the International Trade Commission, which posted it online as a formal petition. But the NTA quickly withdrew the filing. Trumbull said the document was only a draft that "never should have gone into the docket as a formal filing." He declined to elaborate on what happened.

However, a July 15 cover letter that the NTA submitted with the document identified it as a "Petition Seeking Relief from Market Disruption Caused by Imports of Upholstery Fabrics and Furniture Part of Textile Fabrics from the Peoples Republic of China."

The document was submitted on behalf of a group of domestic textile manufacturers including American Silk Mills, David Rothschild Co., Milliken and Co., Raxon Fabrics, Sunbury Textile Mills, Valdese Weavers, Victor Textiles and Wearbest Sil-Tex Mills Ltd.

While the document has been withdrawn, Trumbull said his association still is looking at the upholstery fabrics issue.

"The upholstery fabric council is interested in pursuing a trade remedy if the facts line up to make it possible to do so," he said, adding that the association likely would file under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974. "If we end up doing a filing, I am not sure how closely it will resemble this document."

"It is a complex process to do any type of trade filing," Trumbull said. "I can't say at this point that we will do one, but we are very seriously looking at what our options for a trade remedy are.... I am hopeful that given the work we have already put into this, and as we explore it further, that a case will come together that we can file. We won't know that until we put more work into it ourselves."

He said his association and a number of its members have been aware of the threat of Chinese upholstery fabric imports since China was accepted into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

"The sense has developed in the industry that we really need to do something," Trumbull said. "Although we are not ready to do it yet, we do believe we have the facts necessary for a case and if at the end of the day we determine we do, we will file."

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