The quota on Chinese textile exports to the European Union will be removed next year, a decision nailed down in meetings between the Ministry of Commerce of China and the trade commission of the EU last month, confirmed Sun Weibin, spokesman of the China National Textile and Apparel Council.
According to the decision, ten categories of Chinese textiles and clothing products exported to the EU will be no longer subject to quantitative limits starting January 1, 2008. However, industry experts warned that Chinese textile companies should not be too optimistic since there are some stumbling blocks ahead.
Gu Qingliang, director of textile economy research at Donghua University, noted that after the quota removal, the textile industry is still subject to the restrictions of Article 16, which allows WTO members to adopt special safeguard measures if Chinese exports are shown to have disturbed their market order. The article is effective through 2012.
Cheng Dawei, chief specialist with the Beijing WTO Affairs Consultation Center, said that the EU anti-dumping or anti-subsidy policies, as well as other safeguard measures, have greater impact on Chinese textile exports than the old quota limitations once imposed.
According to the National Development and Reform Commission, the EU's regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), effective last month, laid down extremely complicated standards for chemical products, and is expected to raise the cost of Chinese textile exports by five percent on average.
These factors may endanger the survival of Chinese textile products in the European market, according to specialists.
Industry insiders suggested that Chinese textile enterprises should make full use of domestic market instead of relying entirely on exporting. They also said the government should assist Chinese enterprises to create a free and healthy environment for the industry.
(China Daily July 19, 2007)