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Alert Asks Chinese Firms to Suspend Textile Export to US

The China Textile Import and Export Chamber on Monday sent red alert signals to domestic companies, asking them to suspend exports of six categories of textile goods to the United States due to US restrictive measures.     


According to a report of the Shanghai Securities Journal on Tuesday, this is the second time for the chamber to send emergency alerts to domestic textile enterprises. On July 6 the chamber for the first time sent alert signals to ask domestic firms to stop exporting textile goods to the United States.


According to figures released by US customs, by July 5 the United States had stopped importing China-made cotton shirts as well as cotton and man-made fiber underwear, and by July 8 the United States had stopped importing China-made cotton trousers, the China Textile Import and Export Chamber said.


By July 13 the United States had imported 97.89 percent of the total limited volume on man-made fiber shirts set for China, so it will probably stop importing fiber shirts from China in the near future, the chamber said.


The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements two months ago decided to put a 7.5-percent cap on the annual increase of imports of China-made cotton shirts, trousers and man-made fiber underwear, based on its observation that an import surge from China had "caused market disruption" in the United States.


Despite several rounds of talks between the two governments, including the just-concluded Sino-US annual session of the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade in Beijing, no breakthrough has been made on the highly debated textile disputes.


China's textile companies may find themselves facing an ambiguous situation of "no quotas left" in the second half of thisyear when they want to export to the United States as the US repeatedly sets limits on China's textile products, said a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce last month.


As the United States also sets limits on China's man-made fiber trousers and the limits are very narrow, the exportable quantity of these textile products has been almost used up, said the chamber, advising domestic enterprises not to take the risk of exporting these products.


China's textile exports to the European Union, however, still have room for growth, thanks to the consensus reached last month by the two sides on textile and garment trade, which cleared up the uncertainties that both importers and exporters worried about and brought new opportunities for Chinese textile producers and traders.


According to information released by the EU customs, by July 15 Chinese exporters used less than 34 percent of total exportable quotas in terms of the nine categories previously investigated by the EU.


The contrast between the US and EU figures shows the effect of the Sino-EU textile agreement, said Zhao Yumin, an expert with theChina Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.


"The agreement has created a stable environment for the manufacturing and exporting of Chinese textiles and garments," Zhao said. All the agreed maximum growth rates reached by China and the EU are higher than the 7.5 percent previously proposed by the EU.


In the past 20-odd years, China used the license system as there were export quotas in international trade. On Jan. 1, 2005, the quotas were revoked and Chinese companies began to enjoy the benefit of free trade. Nevertheless, the United States and the EU took restrictive measures on textile products from China based on Article 242, resulting in concerned conditions and procedures for the restriction.


(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2005)


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