From The Editor: Bra Brawl

From The Editor

Bra BrawlAs this issue of Textile World Asia goes to print, the United States announced its
decision to invoke safeguard measures on three categories of textile products (which, curiously,
include bras) imported from China. The announcement also came on the eve of Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao’s visit to the U.S. One can only expect discussions about textile trade issues to heat up in
the coming months.While many industry analysts and government observers are not impressed with the
Bush administration’s move, calling it mere political gesturing before an election year, one cannot
discount the pressures Bush faces from the U.S. textile lobby and the thousands of displaced
textile workers.While always purporting to be a free-trade proponent, Bush, for the time being,
seems to be caught in that proverbial spot between a rock and a hard place. Whatever his next moves
are, it is time for Asian countries (where, fairly or not, much of the blame for American textile
woes is placed) to scrutinize their textile industry’s practices and business.Complaints voiced by
U.S. textile makers include under-valued Asian currencies, sweat-shop-like working conditions for
workers who earn next to nothing, the lack of environmental oversight, the use of child labor …
in other words, anti-competitive practices that “free trade”does not define. Worse, these are
legitimate complaints that can throw global trade back to a world of tariffs and quotas and, gasp,
trade wars. And, when that time comes, it would be more than over bras.By Carmen Pang, Executive

Winter 2003