Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Life imitates The West Wing
I'm sure at least a few of my readers remember an episode of The West Wing (season 5), called "Full Disclosure," in which two AFL-CIO reps argue with Toby that the Chinese are killing the US in the bra market:

TOBY: We keep picking targets, we're gonna end up in a trade war.
TOM (union guy): We're already in a trade war with China. That's why we gotta make bras our first line of defense.
TOBY: Bras?
SHELLY (other union guy): Chinese bras are killing us.
TOBY: They are?
SHELLY: They're flooding Wal-Mart with cheap bras. Domestic producers can't compete. China has tripled its market share in two years.
TOBY: I assume we're all okay with French bras, right? 'Cause I, for one, really prefer them, and I wouldn't want...
TOM: This isn't funny.
Well, Tom's right—it isn't funny. Especially when it's happening in real life:
BRITAIN could be facing a bra shortage after an EU ban blocked �50million of Chinese-made clothing heading for the UK, a trade body warned today.

It means some shops could run out of trousers, pullovers, blouses and other items in the coming months, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said.
And the number of bras on shop floors could also drop, a spokeswoman for the BRC said.

The clothing is barred from entering Europe because of a recent change to EU quotas for clothing and textiles imported from China.

A number of 2005 quotas are already full, meaning further imports of affected goods are held at ports and airports across Europe and denied entry.

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