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China Summons US Ambassador over Textiles Quota

China summoned the US ambassador for the second time in two days to complain about Washington's decision to slap a quota on selected Chinese textile imports, Xinhua News Agency reports on Friday.


Simmering tensions between the world's biggest and fifth biggest trade nations flared on Tuesday when Washington said it would cap imports of Chinese bras, knitted fabrics and gowns.


Vice Commerce Minister Ma Xiuhong met Ambassador Clark Randt on Thursday a day after the Foreign Ministry had summoned him to tell him it was "shocked and dissatisfied" at the US move.


"The US decision will negatively impact China-US trade and harm the interests of the United States itself," Ma was quoted as saying.


Adding that US exports of raw fabric materials, finished products and textile machinery to China had surged in recent years, Ma said the US move ran counter to the principles of free trade, transparency and non-discrimination.


"China hopes the United States fully recognizes the negative impact on normal trade between the two countries...and that it changes its mind immediately," she was quoted as saying.


A US embassy spokeswoman said the ambassador's meeting with Ma hit the same themes as the earlier meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong, in which Randt thanked China for its "active approach" in discussing problems.


Randt had also said he would pass China's concerns on to Washington.


On Thursday a Commerce Ministry spokesman said China could retaliate against the United States but wanted to take part in talks that are part of the process for invoking the tariff included in China's WTO entry package.


In an interview with Reuters in Miami on Thursday, US Commerce Secretary Don Evans said he was confident that the two sides could ease the frictions.


"What has impressed me about the current leadership of China...is their willingness to sit down and have a constructive, good faith, goodwill dialogue about how to work our way through these issues," Evans, who visited Beijing in October, said.


Earlier, in a speech on the sidelines of a Western Hemisphere trade ministers' meeting, Evans defended the quotas as a legal "safeguard" measure under WTO rules and warned China it must play fair if it expected to sell its goods in the United States.


(China Daily November 22, 2003)


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