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Textile Producers to Debate EU Charge

The European Union will hold a debate on Chinese chemical fiber cloth sector on December 20, and 36 of 56 Chinese companies responding to the allegations have confirmed their attendance, a source with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles (CCCT) revealed recently.

On June 17, 2004, the EU formally announced the start of its investigation into allegations of dumping chemical fiber cloth made in China. The case involves 942 Chinese exporters and US$487 million worth of merchandise, the EU's largest dumping charge against Chinese producers so far.

EU representatives visited seven of the Chinese companies involved in October.

The 36 respondents who will attend the debate gathered for a symposium organized by the CCCT in late November to prepare their defense against the charges.

Industry insiders believe the EU will announce its first verdict on the case in the first quarter next year, and the upcoming debate may have some impact on the decision.

Xiang Dong, a partner at All Bright Law Offices, is defending the Chinese companies. He said that his firm has instructed the companies involved to offer related documents and statistics. The enterprises have also been told to take the initiative in contacting and obtaining support from their importers and clients in the EU.

The CCCT hopes that the collective response will show a unified stance to the EU and help develop a countermeasure model for industry responses to EU charges.

According to the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, all quotas restricting textile and clothing trade between World Trade Organization members will be eliminated by year-end.

However, the United States and the EU, the two main export destinations for Chinese textile products, have threatened to impose anti-dumping taxes or to take other safeguard measures against Chinese products.

A CCCT official said that the case will have an impact on the EU's policy toward Chinese textile imports in the post-quota era and on the future of Sino-EU textile trade.

The association earlier suggested that Chinese exporters should change their operational strategy, improving product quality and price instead of relying solely on low cost.

(China.org.cn by Tang Fuchun, December 14, 2004)

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