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Washington Order Puts End to Export of Israeli Cotton-yarn to U.S.

The export of Israeli cotton yarn to the United States, which reached some 250 tons during the last year, has been stopped by an order of the U.S. Government as an indirect result of the attempt to slow down the influx of cheap cotton goods to the United States from the Far East, it was learned here today.

The United States has announced it will freeze import of cotton goods at the 1960-61 level. Since Israel did not export any cotton to the United States in that period, the effect is to give no quota to Israel at all, thereby cutting the export of Israeli cotton yarn to the United States to zero. Shipments of Israeli cotton yarn to the U.S. constituted about 50 percent of the entire yarn exports.

The United States order is a severe blow to Israel’s cotton spinning industry, which was already reeling, along with other industries in the country, as a result of the devaluation of the Israeli currency last February. The cotton spinning industry here, using the most modern equipment, employs 5,000 workers on three shifts, working day and night. Half of the production had been earmarked for export.

Spinners have called an emergency meeting for tonight to consider the new situation which will, without a doubt, result in the dismissal of hundreds of workers.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which informed the spinning industry of the new American ruling, held out the hope that the stoppage of exports to the United States may be temporary, since Washington will review the cotton yarn import quotas in October. However, Israel’s economic advisers in Washington have been ordered to maintain close contact on the situation with the American authorities.

An offshoot of the new American ruling is that it will affect also Israel’s exports of rainwear. Exports of raincoats from here to the United States increased recently by 20 percent. The new American ruling may force the rainwear industry to cut its U. S.-bound rainwear shipments down to its earlier trade figures.

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