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EU Seeks to End Textile Tension

An EU commission delegation is due to arrive Beijing this week to find a solution to the textile issue, says EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

Mandelson believes the current friction on textiles between the two economies will not lead to "any sort of diplomatic break or trade war between the European Union and China."

"I'm not going to take any action that is precipitate, that is reactionary, that is going to turn the clock back on textile imports," he said.

His remarks were made last week when he met China's Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, who is on a visit to France.

Mandelson acknowledged that measures adopted by China this year had helped to slow down the growth rate of its textile exports to the European Union.

At the meeting Bo warned the European Union not to exaggerate the trade friction concerning textiles.

He said Sino-EU textile trade only accounted for 7.1 per cent of bilateral trade, which stood at US$177.3 billion last year.

Bilateral textile trade saw a slight increase in proportion to 8.6 per cent of the total trade volume in the first quarter this year, despite the surge blamed by European countries.

"The export surges of textiles from China do not disorder the markets of target countries," Bo said.

Therefore, Bo said, moves by the European Union and the United States to re-impose quotas on textile imports from China were not obvious.

The minister added limitations on China's textiles would harm not only the interests of China but also of importers, retailers and consumers of Europe.

"China and the European Union are complementary in textile trade as the country not only exports textiles to the EU but also imports materials and equipment for it," Bo said.

The United States and European countries had voiced fears before the global removal of import quotas that made-in-China textiles might flood their markets.

Tensions intensified when the United States and the European Union, at the request of domestic textile producers, initiated investigations into safeguard measures against textiles from China last month.

(China Daily May 9, 2005)

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Minister Eases European Concern on Textiles
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