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US Caution Urged on Textile Issue

A spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce Thursday urged the US Government to take a cautious and appropriate manner in handling the Sino-US textile trade issues.

The statement was given after the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) announced Wednesday it had accepted petitions from the US textile industry to launch investigations into whether quotas should be imposed on 21 categories of clothing and textile imports from China.

The spokesman said the move by the US side is against relevant rules of the World Trade Organization and expressed China's resolute opposition to it.

CITA announced on Wednesday that it had accepted for review 13 textile and apparel safeguard petitions covering 21 categories. Nine of those petitions are reapplications for safeguards that previously have been implemented by the US Government, but are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The other four petitions are new cases.

The spokesman expected the US Government would make a decision from the perspective of overall bilateral interests.

The final decision will be made by January unless the US Government asks for further time to complete its investigation.

While opposing the acceptance of new petitions, the spokesman also welcomes a decision by the United States to delay a finding on whether to set limits on four kinds of Chinese textile imports.

CITA announced on September 30 that it is extending until November 30, 2005, the period for determination on whether to request consultations with China regarding imports of cotton and man-made fibre sweaters, cotton and man-made fibre dressing gowns, and robes, men's and boys' wool trousers, and knit fabric.

"The US has not hesitated to use the textile safeguard mechanism as being permitted under China's WTO accession agreement; however, we are seeking a longer-term solution that will permit the orderly development of textile and apparel trade," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and CITA Chairman James C. Leonard III in a statement.

"We have made progress in our consultations with the Chinese Government and will meet again soon to continue those consultations. Today's action demonstrates our intent to consult in good faith, but we will not accept a bad deal for the US industry."

Negotiators from the United States and China reported progress last week in their fifth round of talks on reaching a comprehensive agreement to limit Chinese textile exports. Further talks are expected this month.

(China Daily October 7, 2005)

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