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US Textile Restrictions Unfair

China said Saturday that it firmly opposes a US decision on restricting three categories of textile imports from China, saying it is a violation of relevant World Trade Organization agreements.

Chong Quan, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said in a statement that China believes that its exports of cotton knit shirts, cotton trousers, cotton and man-made fiber underwear have not disrupted the US market, as the US side has claimed based on figures of the first quarter of the year.

US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez announced Friday that the US government has decided to re-impose quotas on the three types of apparel imports from China.

The decision made by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements means that the quantity of the relevant apparel goods China can export to the United States will be limited to an increase of just 7.5 percent this year, compared to shipments over a 12-month base period.

"The US decision runs counter to World Trade Organization's agreements on trade of textile and apparel products, deviates from the WTO spirit of free trade, and fails to conform to the conditions for launching article 242 in documents concerning China's accession to the WTO," Chong said.

Article 242 says in general that WTO members can impose limits on certain types of China-originated clothing when an import surge occurs and caused market disruption.

Chong added that the US decision violated relevant procedure of the United States, damaged the rightful interests of China's businesses and "severely undermined the confidence of China's businesses and people in the world trade environment.

The world eliminated the quota regime on textile goods on January 1 this year. As a major supplier of textile goods and garments, China has faced limits or threat to limit from the United States and the European Union lately.

Chong Quan said the US decision has set a "very bad precedent" as it is based on "inaccurate figures gathered in a short period of time."

He said China reserves the right to "take further actions within the WTO framework."

The spokesman urged the United States to correct its wrong decision so that China-US trade will not suffer because of the US abuse of protectionist measures.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2005)

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