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EU Sets Deadline on Textile Deal

The European Commission said on Wednesday that it hopes to reach an agreement with China on Chinese exports of T-shirts and flax yarn by next Tuesday, giving EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson the green light to continue informal talks with Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng.

Mandelson's spokesperson, Claude Veron-Reville, said the EU would not launch formal consultations with China on the two categories of products if they reached an agreement by then, telling reporters that she believed a timely deal was possible.

"The EU and China had constructive negotiations on this issue yesterday and the talks will go through the week if necessary," she said.

Earlier last week, Mandelson announced that the EU would launch formal consultations with China over T-shirts and flax yarn, a move that would allow it to impose import limits within 15 days of the formal start of negotiations if China failed to curb its exports.

Meanwhile, there are seven other categories of textile imports from China currently being investigated by the EU.

China agreed last week to raise export tariffs on goods in 74 categories by as much as five times, but said it would scrap these plans if the EU and US imposed quotas on imports.

"If the US and the EU formally carry out restrictions on any of these categories, we will not impose tariffs on the items in question," the Commerce Ministry said.

In line with WTO agreements, all quantitative quotes on textile products were lifted by January 1 this year, but there have been calls for their reintroduction as some categories of Chinese exports have risen.

(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2005)

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