WASHINGTON — The textile and apparel industries, the nation's single largest manufacturing sector, are threatened by low-priced imports, more than 100 lawmakers said Tuesday in introducing a bill to impose tight quotas.
Importers, joined by consumer and retail groups, immediately attacked the legislation on the grounds that it could spark a retaliatory trade war and would increase clothing prices.
But a broad-based group of senators and House members, primarily from the Southern textile states and Northern manufacturing areas, backed the bill as the best way to protect industries that employ 2 million people.
Enlisted 123 Co-Sponsors
"I know of no other industry or group of workers that has suffered more hardships than has textiles and apparel, as a direct result of cheap foreign imports," said Rep. Ed Jenkins (D-Ga.), chairman of the Congressional Textile Caucus, which enlisted 123 House co-sponsors for the legislation.