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Accord Reached to Increase Mexican Textile, Apparel Imports

January 6, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States and Mexico have reached a four-year agreement that will permit a 6 percent annual increase in textile and apparel imports from Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter said Tuesday.

In exchange, Mexico has agreed to open its markets to $240 million of U.S. exports of apparel and other finished products. Until now, U.S. exports of these products for consumption in Mexico generally have been prohibited, Yeutter said.

Mexico also agreed to ″substantially reduced″ barriers to imports of yarn and fabrics, he said.

Mexico is the sixth-largest supplier of textiles and apparel to the United States, with imports that totaled $475 million in 1986.

″This agreement is another important step in the liberalization of trade between our two countries,″ Yeutter said in a statement.

The new pact follows agreements announced last week liberalizing trade in steel, wine, beer and distilled spirits.

″In November 1987, we signed a framework agreement that provides a consultative mechanism to resolve trade disputes and improve opportunities for commerce. Clearly, we are making progress in reducing trade barriers between our two countries,″ Yeutter said.

Under the agreement, a wide range of Mexican textile products will be subject to quotas that will increase by an average annual growth rate of 6 percent, ″thereby shielding domestic textile makers from damaging import surges,″ Yeutter said.

U.S. textile producers will also be able to ship cut fabric to Mexico, where it will be assembled into clothing and shipped back to the U.S. duty- free, the U.S. official said.

The new agreement will expire on Dec. 31, 1991.

The American Textile Manufacturers Institute criticized the accord as one that was ″far too generous″ to Mexico and in which the U.S. industry was ″thrown ... a crumb.″

Institute President Robert G. Laidaw said in a statement that ″the only answer to slow this penetration and stem U.S. job losses is for Congress to enact″ pending legislation limiting textile and apparel imports.

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