The US Commerce Department decided Friday that it will impose a quota on sock imports from China - the latest round of an increasingly bitter bilateral trade dispute.
It also threatens to impose emergency quotas on cotton, wool, and man-made fibre socks from China early next year if no solution is reached.
The US textile industry groups have complained that the sock imports is seriously disrupting the US market. They led an industry call last summer for the administration to help.
The socks imported from China have increased from $8.8 million to $170 million from 2001 to 2003.
A potential quota may lead to a big drop of US imports of socks from China, slowing an increase between 6 percent and 7.5 percent over current import levels.
China exports less than 1 million dozen pair of socks in 2001. But the figure rose to 22 million in 2003, and to 42 million in the most recent 12 months ending in August 2004.
Besides socks, the US textile industry asks for more protection in other textile products as worldwide quotas will be removed under the World Trade Organization rules.
(CRI.com October 24, 2004)