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Sino-US Textile Talks to Enter New Round

China and the US will start a new round of negotiations over the textile conflicts between the two countries next week, according to sources with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).


"China's delegation will head to San Francisco next week on the invitation of the US," ministry sources said yesterday. "The negotiations will focus on the technical aspects."


The two-day consultation is the latest move between the two countries after the US imposed caps on China's textile and garment products in May.


"MOFCOM held a conference on Tuesday with major domestic textile exporters, listening to the obstacles they encountered in textile trade with the US as well as their suggestions and demands for future trade," Cao Xinyu, vice chairman of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles (CCCT), said.


Due to the lack of an agreement over textiles for the remainder of 2005 and next year, Chinese and US businesses are hesitant to make new orders or accept deals.


"They hope an agreement will clarify the situation, so as to create a steady development environment for Sino-US textile trade," Cao said, adding that the agreement reached between China and the EU was a good example of such an agreement.


The US textile sector wants a deal to restrict Chinese imports under a certain level that would eliminate the need for them to file new safeguard petitions.


John Stubbs, a spokesperson for the US Trade Representative's Office, said the Bush administration has not yet decided whether to formally seek a comprehensive deal over the conflicts with Beijing.


The Bush administration is still under consultation with the US Congress and industry groups over this issue and has not made a final decision yet, Stubbs said.


The two countries held two rounds of talks over the textile disputes in June and July, but failed to reach an agreement.


After settling the textile disputes with the EU and preparing for consultations with the US, Chinese textile producers are bracing themselves for additional safeguard measures likely initiated by developing countries.


Earlier reports from the Brazilian newspapers said that its domestic textile industry was preparing 15 petitions to its government for safeguard measures for at least 80 categories of Chinese textile and apparel products.


They claimed the inexpensive textile products flooded their market and injured the Brazilian textile sector.


The Colombian and South African textile industries are also attempting to introduce curbs to the import of Chinese textile products, saying that Chinese products have hurt their domestic markets.


In another development, MOFCOM said in a statement yesterday that relevant governmental agencies have discussed on August 10 with their Russian counterparts for a mutually satisfactory solution to the incident in March that over US$9 million worth of Chinese shoes were confiscated by tax police in Moscow.


(China Daily August 12, 2005)

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