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Debate Builds on Vietnam WTO Bid

A trade battle over Vietnam's 11-year effort to join the World Trade Organization is flying just below the radar in Washington.

"The battle lines are the big Asian suppliers [and] the big Central American and Mexican suppliers," said Johnson.

Though there is no real consensus on how the Vietnam accession talks will pan out in the apparel and textile area, some importers reading the tea leaves see continued restraints on the Southeast Asian nation.

"I don't see any great sentiment for free trade in Washington," said Tom Haugen, president of sourcing firm Li & Fung USA, who thinks Vietnam will more than likely have safeguards built into its accession agreement. "You're going to have [Congressional] elections this year, so therefore people are looking for something to run behind, hide behind actually."

At a Glance

  • Capital: Hanoi
  • Type of Government: Communist state
  • Size: Slightly larger than New Mexico
  • Population: 83.5 million
  • Gross Domestic Product: $3,000 per capita
  • Source: CIA World Factbook
The Fiber Price Sheet
The last Tuesday of every month, WWD publishes the current, month-ago and year-ago fiber prices. Prices listed reflect the cost of one pound of fiber or, in the case of crude oil, one barrel.
Fiber
Price on 3/27/06*
Price on 2/27/06
Price on 3/28/05
Cotton
58.07 cents
56.79 cents
47.09 cents
Wool
$2.43
$2.49
$2.55
Polyester staple
83 cents
81 cents
66 cents
Polyester filament
80 cents
78 cents
76 cents
February Synthetic PPI
115.1
113.8
109.0
Crude oil
$64.26
$62.91
$54.84
*The current cotton price is the February average on fiber being delivered to Southeastern region mills, according to Agricultural Marketing Services/USDA. The wool price is based on the average price for the week ended MARCH 24 of 11 different thicknesses of fiber, ranging from 15 microns to 30 microns, according to The Woolmark Co. Information on polyester pricing is provided by the consulting firm DeWitt & Co. The synthetic-fiber producer index, or PPI, is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reflects the overall change in all synthetic-fiber prices. It is not a price in dollars but a measurement of how prices have changed since 1982, which had a PPI of 100. Oil prices reflect last week's closing price on the New York Mercantile Exchange of future contracts for light, sweet crude oil to be delivered next month.
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