An expanded coalition of U.S. manufacturing associations is calling for a moratorium on any new trade agreements, including the recently concluded Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

The 23 American manufacturing organizations are asking the Bush administration to conduct a thorough review of the impact of such agreements on American workers and manufacturers. It says it represents more than 18,000 companies with more than 1.1 million employees.

The call came amid reports that more than 100,000 American workers became unemployed in January as their jobs moved to countries such as India, China and the Philippines. It was the first time the number had exceeded 100,000 since October.

The coalition also called for a moratorium on trade agreements and legislation to further liberalize preferential trade arrangements with other countries and regions. Examples include the Africa and Middle East trade liberalization initiatives now being pushed anew within the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Earlier, the National Cotton Council passed a resolution urging Congress to delay ratifying the new CAFTA agreement until its textile provisions can be thoroughly reviewed and significantly improved.

The Council is continuing discussions with the U.S. Trade Representative's office to ensure that “World Trade Organization negotiations on the U.S. Cotton Program will be conducted in the context of the overall agricultural negotiations, while reiterating concerns about the elimination of U.S. textile tariffs.”