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New York lawmakers introduce bill to close China trade loophole
Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Michael McNulty Tuesday introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress that would close a trade loophole that has allowed China to circumvent a quota on textile window blinds since 2005. The bill would keep companies like the Capital Regionís Comfortex from suffering further as a result of Chinese manufacturers using unfair trade practices and circumventing the quota loophole.
Currently, Chinese manufacturers can purchase fabric in Taiwan and ship it to China where approximately 70-80 percent of the value of the finished shade is added in multiple, complex manufacturing steps. The fabric is folded, pleated, and glued into “cellular” or “honeycomb” shapes, then attached to metal or plastic rails with a system of cords to raise and lower the shade. These production steps take place in China. The finished window blinds and shades are then shipped to the United States as “Products of Taiwan.” This allows the merchandise to completely circumvent the quota on Chinese textile window blinds and shades.
Twenty years ago, Comfortex started up as a tiny fabricator of window treatments and employed 120 people. Comfortex now employs 700 people at four manufacturing sites, including nearly 500 at the headquarters in Maplewood, just outside Albany.