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EU to Unblock China Textiles

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Monday he has tabled EU member states proposals to remove restrictions on Chinese textile imports stockpiled in major European ports.

"I have set in motion procedures to unblock the goods," Mandelson told a news conference at the European Commission, pledging efforts to release millions of items of Chinese-made clothing stopped because newly-set quotas were used up.

Mandelson declined to give details of his plans, but said he hoped EU member states would quickly approve them.

"There is no reason for blocking them ... The goods will be unblocked," he said.

Mandelson said negotiations with the Chinese side "so far have not produced a mutually satisfactory solution," adding that the talks would continue.

He said EU member states, China and textile retailers should take responsibility for the current stockpiles, but "no one in particular is to blame" for the deadlock.

The EU and China agreed in Shanghai in June to limit trade growth in ten clothing categories from sweaters to brassieres to about 10 percent after manufacturers in France, Italy and Spain complained that the end of quotas on January 1 had resulted in a surge of Chinese clothing imports into Europe.

However, the new limits left stockpiles of clothing imported by European wholesalers and retailers before June, causing an outcry from local importers.

Mandelson defended the Shanghai agreement, saying there was no better alternative.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2005)

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