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EU Officials Seek to Clear Textile Stockpiles

A team of European Union (EU) trade officials will fly to China on Wednesday to try to resolve the crisis over blocked imports of Chinese textiles, European Commission spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy said at a press conference in Brussels on Monday.


After the EU ordered import restrictions on 10 categories of Chinese textile goods in June, container loads of sweaters, trousers and women's shirts sit piled up at European ports. They can't get through customs because quotas have been exceeded.


The spokeswoman also said that EU executives would meet with representatives from all 25 EU member states on August 25 in Brussels to address this urgent issue.


Among concerns that the import quotas are doing more harm than good, the EU is facing growing calls for their relaxation, even from France, one of the strongest supporters of the quotas imposition.


Retailers and importers, who rely on cheap shipments from China, are warning that unless the quotas are loosened, consumers could end up paying more for clothes hastily sourced from elsewhere and have less to choose from.


Earlier this week, trade ministers from Germany and Sweden wrote to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, asking for a quick solution to the problem.


On Thursday, trade ministers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland jointly published an article in the British newspaper The Financial Times, calling for an immediate end to the dispute, saying the "best solution" was to "renounce protective trade measures."


(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2005)


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