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Clothing Union Supports Textile Initiative

24 May 2004

Clothing Union Supports Textile Initiative But Warns On China Free Trade

"The Clothing Workers Union supports the Government's $2.3 million Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Carpet transition package announced today by Economic Development Minister, Jim Anderton," said union secretary, Maxine Gay.

"It has been almost three and a half years since the union went to then Alliance Leader, Jim Anderton to inform him of the impending collapse of the industry without Government intervention and support," said Maxine Gay. "During these three years the Clothing Union, together with the NDU and CTU have been working with government and industry to ensure that such support was forthcoming. The first step was a detailed report into the industry, second was the development of an industry strategy, third the formation of Textiles NZ and finally today's announcement of the funding to ensure the strategy is put into place."

Clothing Union industry officer, Robert Reid has represented the unions on all stages of these development and currently sits on the Textile NZ Board.

"While this announcement is good news for the sector, it takes place under the dark clouds of a proposed Free Trade Agreement with China," Maxine Gay said. Jim Anderton must ensure that all his good work to ensure a transition package for the industry on the basis of a slowly decreasing tariff reduction regime to 10% by 2009 is not destroyed by a zero tariff regime with China by the end of next year," she said.

"We know what happened to the car assembly industry when it went to zero tariffs overnight, we must make sure the same does not happen to the TCFC sector," she said.


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