Go Long socks or Short socks?


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WASHINGTON (AFX) -- The Bush administration has decided to consider a
request from the domestic sock industry to impose quotas on imports of
Chinese-made socks and will make a final decision on the matter just before the
November presidential election, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements "has determined that the
request contains the information required" to be considered, said James
Leonard, chairman of CITA and a deputy assistant Commerce secretary.
Last month, a coalition of U.S. textile manufacturers asked the Commerce
Department to consider their request to impose quotas on Chinese imports.
"Urgent, significant action is needed immediately to save the domestic sock
industry, the most competitive sector remaining of the once flourishing U.S.
domestic apparel manufacturing industry," wrote Charles Cole, chairman of the
Domestic Manufacturers Committee of the Hosiery Association, and three other
industry executives.
The move comes as more than 100 top executives from U.S. textile manufacturers
have descended on Washington to make their case for the extension of a separate
set of textile quotas that is set to expire at the end of the year.
And the decision to accept the U.S. industry's request starts the process for a
final decision to take place in mid-October.
"Pretty good timing, I would say," said Jim Schollaert of the American
Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, one of the four industry groups seeking
the imposition of quotas.
If quotas are imposed, it would be the fourth such action on textile imports
from China in less than a year. In November, the Bush administration capped the
growth rate of Chinese lingerie imports on such products as brassieres,
nightgowns and knit fabrics.
"We think our case is stronger than the 3 cases" already filed, Schollaert said,
noting that the industry is seeking the same remedy as the other three cases:
quotas to limit to 7.5 percent growth the level of shipments over the prior
Erik Autor, vice president of the National Retail Federation, said his
organization would study the domestic industry's complaint before making a
judgment, though he added that it's likely the retailers would oppose it.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., praised the decision.
"The sock industry in Northeast Alabama has seen substantial damage as a result
of unprecedented surges of imported socks," Shelby said in a written statement.
Cole, of the Domestic Manufacturers Committee, owns Alabama Footware in Ft.
Payne, Ala.
This story was supplied by CBSMarketWatch. For further information see
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