Rep. Hayes, Sen. Dole working to restore ambassador status to U.S. textile negotiator

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Staff report

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole have reintroduced legislation in their respective chambers to return the U.S. Trade Representative Special Textile Negotiator to Ambassador status.

Currently, the senior textile and apparel negotiator at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative does not hold the rank of ambassador, limiting his ability to effectively engage his foreign counterparts in textile negotiations, a statement from Hayes’ office said.

“America’s domestic textile industry should have every advantage that other countries enjoy when it comes to USTR negotiations with foreign counterparts,” said Hayes, a Republican from Concord. “We will continue to push for comprehensive agreements that prevent countries, including China, from dumping illegal transshipments into our market, and I want to empower the USTR textile negotiator to protect American textile jobs.”

Others with similar responsibilities at USTR hold the rank of ambassador. Dole, Hayes and industry officials contend that distinction is important to America’s domestic textile industry as textile discussions continue to gain precedence during trade agreement negotiations, particularly in past World Trade Organization discussions.

“Our textile trade representative must have the clout necessary to negotiate trade agreements that affect North Carolina textile jobs,” said Dole, a Republican from Salisbury. “Our textile workers deserve for the U.S. textile negotiator to be on equal footing with his foreign counterparts. I am proud to work with Robin Hayes in advocating for this important designation.”