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Sino-US Textile Talks Kick off

China and United States are set to start consultations today about new measures on three Chinese textiles products.

The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) decided on November 18 to set quotas on Chinese exports to the US of knit fabric, dressing gowns and bras.

Details of the imposed quota will be decided after the negotiations.

"The US group arrived in Beijing yesterday and the consultation will begin Monday," sources said Sunday.

The consultations will focus on specific quotas, export licensing and bilateral electronic data inspection on the three products.

"The US side has asked us to impose licensing management and electronic data inspection beginning January 23, which we cannot bear," a source said.

"In China's agreement to the World Trade Organization (WTO), we did not permit such two methods, which were used before China's WTO entry,'' he said.

The bilateral electronic data inspection requires China to deliver daily reports on new licences to the US administration for inspection.

Sources said Chinese representatives will refuse the US proposition and question the legitimacy of the US decision to initiate such safeguards.

The Bush administration formally requested consultations with China on December 23.

Upon request, the country has had to restrict its shipments of the three kinds of products to a level no greater than 7.5 percent above the amount that entered the United States during the first 12 months of the most recent 14 months preceding the request.

Information on customs clearance of the three products has been published on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

According to China's WTO commitments, consultations with China will begin within 30 days of notification of the request and the two countries have 90 days to reach a resolution.

If the two sides fail to reach a resolution, the United States can unilaterally impose quotas for one year, limiting growth of China's exports in those areas to 7.5 percent.

Cao Xinyu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, expected the US side to be reasonable.

"They should note that China and United States textile industries have good co-operation and many of the three products are exported by US-invested companies,'' Cao said.

China is also one of the few destinations in the world where the United States sees surging textile exports, he added.

The Bush administration recently filed many protective measures on Chinese products including textile, color TV sets and furniture with the coming election.

But China has moved towards balancing trade.

Another purchasing group will head to United States next week to buy information technology products valued about US$2 billion, according to a report by Phoenix TV.

(China Daily January 12, 2004)

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