UNITED STATES importers of Hong Kong textiles are lobbying Washington to review stringent port controls they claim are forcing them to switch suppliers. They claim goods are being held for months at ports of entry because of demands by customs for increased documentation. The requirements are part of the US Government's crackdown on illegal transshipments. They set out what paperwork customs inspectors might need to assure them that goods were not sent through another country to avoid US quotas. The importers said they welcomed moves to prevent exporters from breaking the law but claimed the present requirements were too comprehensive. US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel lawyer Brenda Jacobs said: 'Hong Kong is not only being priced out of the US market because of cheaper Asian alternatives, our importers are being deterred from importing from Hong Kong.' Customs is seeking sufficient records to establish the goods' country of origin. They can include a list of production equipment used in a garment factory and time cards kept by sewing machine operators employed by the factory owner. Some documents also have to be translated from Chinese into English. The documentation is intended to boost efforts to curtail textile transshipments and catch out quota violators. Ms Jacobs said: 'It is overwhelming. We are required to obtain documents from foreign vendors who generally do not want to give over information to their customers because it is commercially sensitive. 'It is basically telling US companies to not buy from foreign manufacturers because it will take up to three months to get them into the United States.' Trade professionals have lobbied the government to clarify the criteria and streamline procedures by introducing guidelines. John Pellegrini, a lawyer specialising in trade for New York-based practice Ross & Hardies, said: 'Exporters are losing business. Some of the Hong Kong companies have closed their Hong Kong factories and moved to China.' He said up to 100 Hong Kong companies were being hit by the increased demands for documentation. Mr Pellegrini said importers were attempting to get the US government to streamline the procedures and reduce paperwork to speed-up the clearance of cargo. 'We want them to rationalise these procedures.' Hong Kong and US trade officials have worked closely to stamp out illegal transshipments.