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Round Two of Sino-US Textile Talks to Start Soon

Chinese and US trade negotiators are expected to meet again soon to try to reach an agreement concerning US imports of three types of textile and clothing products. The first round of bilateral discussions was held on January 12 and 13, ending without an agreement being reached.

The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) decided on November 18 to invoke safeguard relief. The measure applied to Chinese knit fabric, bras and dressing gowns.

On December 23, the US government formally requested consultation with China on the three types of textiles and clothing products. At that time, exports of the products became subject to import quotas that could last for 12 months if no agreement is reached by March 23.

China has limited its shipments of the three types of products to the amount imported by the US in the 12-month period that ended on 30 September 2003, plus 7.5 percent.

An official from the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Textiles, who declined to be named, said the exports and prices of knit fabric, bras and dressing gowns have been registered by customs since January.

Exporters of the products have established groups to set export quantities and prices, he said.

In related news, Chinese negotiators met Peruvian officials on Tuesday to settle textile trade disputes.

Both sides expect to reach a positive outcome before an interim safeguard measure on Chinese textile exports to Peru expires. Peru invoked the 200-day-long safeguard relief on 106 Chinese textile imports on December 23.

The measure cuts imports of the Chinese products by 70 percent year-on-year, with volumes exceeding that cap subject to punitive duties. The Peruvian government will decide whether to extend the measure after its initial expiration.

The European textile industry is also urging the European Union to clamp down on surging Chinese exports, citing concerns China will grow to dominate the world's textile trade.

Industry leaders said they have planned a formal complaint to be handed to the European Commission.

Chinese officials respond that such protectionist moves will benefit no one.

(China Daily February 26, 2004)

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