The United States is expanding the list of clothing and textiles from China that will be hit with emergency import restrictions to protect US producers, the Commerce Department said on May 18.

The additional quotas, which will take effect once Washington formally requests consultations with Beijing on the issue, include additional categories of trousers and shirts not covered by a US “safeguard” action announced last week.

The new quotas also include combed cotton yarn, the Commerce Department said in statement.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates this Administration’s continued commitment to America’s textile manufacturers and their employees,” said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. “We will enforce our trade agreements to ensure that US companies get a fair deal as they compete in the global marketplace.”

US imports of clothing from China have surged since Jan. 1, when a decades-old international quota system was phased out as the result of a 1994 world trade deal.

However, China agreed when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 to let member countries impose emergency import restrictions on its clothing and textile shipments to prevent “market disruption.” (Reuters)