China and the United States have agreed to continue textile negotiations to resolve their disputes and create an environment for the stable development of bilateral textile trade, China's Commerce Ministry's spokesperson Chong Quan said in Beijing on Thursday.
"There are still substantial differences over some fundamental issues between the two sides," Chong said, commenting on the third round of Sino-US talks on China's textile exports held on Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco.
China has expressed "strong opposition" to the US government's imposition of quotas on five Chinese textile products, saying that such a move runs counter to the free trade principles of the World Trade Organization and encourages further abuse of special restrictive measures.
On August 1, the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements announced that it would delay its decision on whether to restrict the exports of a further six Chinese textile products, including woolen trousers until August 31.
China hopes the US will take concrete measures before that date in an effort "to find a solution satisfactory to both through consultations".
The US Trade Representative's chief textile negotiator, David Spooner, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the latest talks were productive and had gone very well.
"Both sides are eager to solve this problem but both sides also say they would rather take a little longer to get a good deal rather than reach a bad deal," Spooner said. "We hope to finish in one more meeting but will have more meetings if that is what it takes."
The two sides are expected to kick off a new round of talks in Beijing before the end of this month, when the US is scheduled to decide whether to launch additional safeguard measures against Chinese textile and apparel products.
China's domestic textile industry also expects a satisfactory outcome.
"We hope that a deal is reached in order to create a clear trade environment for textile traders both at home and abroad," Cao Xinyu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Textile, said.
Cao explained that now is the time for US importers to place orders for the winter. Chinese suppliers have inked major deals with US firms at the autumn Chinese Export Commodities Fair -- held twice a year -- in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, on orders for the first half of next year.
US and Chinese textile dealers suffered losses earlier this year when they lost a number of deals after the US announced safeguard measures just before the fair in April.
An early resolution to the dispute will also help the two countries manage the implementation of whatever agreement is reached, Cao added.
"We hope the categories included in the agreement are reasonable and the terms contemplate factors including taking into account the (low) growth in the first several months this year, and a consensus on what is a satisfactory growth rate," Cao said.
The US started imposing curbs on Chinese textile products that limit growth to 7.5 percent annually after the abolition of the decade-long global quota regime on textile trade at the beginning of this year.
About 20 categories of Chinese textile products are under US safeguard measures or investigation.
US textile producers want to retain the restrictions and add more categories to the list while importers and retailers want the curbs lifted and the annual growth ceiling set at around 20 percent.
(Xinhua, China Daily August 19, 2005)