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Backlash over American Textile Appeal

A major Chinese textile industrial organization has voiced its deep regret and strong discontent over the acceptance of safeguard petitions on Chinese products by the United States.

Cao Xinyu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for Textile Imports and Exports, said protectionism is a useless attempt to solve trade disputes.

"Negotiation and co-operation are the only fundamental means to settle the problem," he added.

On Tuesday, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements accepted three of the four China textile safeguard petitions, which were filed by the US textile and fibre industry on July 24.

The petitions covering knitted fabric, bras and dressing gowns were accepted, but the petition on gloves was not.

A lobby group is in the US to try and avert a possible clash with US firms over the product safeguards, Cao said.

The official said the Chinese group will form a close alliance with US importers and retailers to try and protect their interests.

Besides affecting US traders and consumers, safeguards could jeopardize the possibility of bilateral textile trade between China and the United States.

Customs statistics show China imported US$447 million worth of US textiles and apparel last year, up 23.04 per cent from 2001.

There was another sharp rise this year, with growth hitting 44.5 per cent in the first six months.

The US Government is expected to make a ruling on the petitions in November.

The World Trade Organization agreement (WTO) calls for quotas on textiles and apparel to be eliminated by 2005 but under a special deal that allowed China to enter the WTO in late 2001, safeguards can be imposed on Chinese goods if the "orderly development" of trade in the market is threatened.

(China Daily August 21, 2003)

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