Necktie producers on Thursday approved a proposal to begin investigating necktie imports as the first step in asking for an emergency curb on imports of Chinese-made products.

The proposal to seek the curb under the rules of the World Trade Organization was endorsed at a plenary meeting in Tokyo of representatives of regional groups of the Kyoto-based Japan Association of the Necktie Industry, association officials said.

Official statistics show imports of Chinese-made neckties in 2000 rose 20 percent over the previous year to 16.4 million. The upsurge contrasts sharply with the near-steady levels of imports from other countries.

But an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that under WTO rules on import curbs, “It is hard to curb imports unless overall necktie imports from various countries show a steep surge.”

Major Japanese production centers of neckties include Kyoto, Fukuoka and Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture.

Japan on Tuesday decided to invoke emergency import curbs to shield domestic producers of stone leeks, shiitake mushrooms and rushes for use in tatami mats from rocketing imports, mainly from China. The curbs will take effect Monday.

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