China will abolish export tariffs on 81 types of clothing and textiles from June 1, the Finance Ministry said on Monday on its website, days after the European Union (EU) sought emergency talks on certain Chinese clothing exports.
The announcement said export tariffs on some products, originally set to be raised or reduced from June 1 a few days ago, will also be scrapped.
The move came amid a growing row with the US and the EU over a surge in textile exports since global quotas were removed on January 1.
The exemptions include tariffs on 78 categories of products that were imposed from January 1. The total also includes two exemptions announced previously, and the cancellation of a further tariff announced on May 20.
On May 20, it was announced that tariffs on most of those products would rise to 1 yuan ($0.121) per unit from 0.2 yuan, with the largest tariff per item at 4 yuan. Products listed included trousers, T-shirts and underwear.
In addition, under the approved adjustments, tariffs on three categories of clothing, including women's knitted underwear and men's cotton underwear, would be lowered from the current 0.20 yuan to 0.05 yuan per unit.
However, the EU has argued that the impact of the tariffs would be too little too late.
It claimed that its T-shirt imports from China rose 187 percent in the first four months of this year from a year earlier and that imports of flax yarn rose by 56 percent year-on-year.
It said these increases had significantly hurt not only its domestic textile manufacturing industry but also textile manufacturers of other developing countries.
EU safeguard measures on textiles opposed
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan yesterday stated the country's opposition to the EU's decision to launch safeguard measures on two categories of Chinese textiles.
"This procedure has hurt Chinese textile manufacturers' rights granted by global trade integration and has sent a wrong signal of trade protectionism to the European textile industry," he said.
Chong stressed that the Chinese Government expected to resolve the existing trade disputes through negotiation with the European side.
The European Union (EU) put its argument to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last Friday and asked China to adopt new measures to control its exports of T-shirts and flax yarn to European countries.
But this move by the EU does not mean negotiations have come to an end, neither does it mean that the EU will take immediate action against Chinese textile exports.
Instead, Claude Veron-Reville, the spokeswoman for European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, said consultations would be held between the two sides in the coming weeks in a bid to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.
(China Daily May 30, 2005)