Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing Monday that the United States' decision to take special safeguard measures, which led to quotas or trade restrictions on three kinds of Chinese textile products exported to the US, is "not good" for Sino-US trade ties.
Wen told a US Chamber of Commerce delegation led by President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue that it's normal that some problems have emerged in Sino-US trade but they should not be politicized.
According to World Trade Organization agreements, quotas on textile trade were eliminated worldwide as of January 1 this year, leading to surging Chinese textile exports. But the US alleges that such growth has disturbed its market, though China has levied export taxes on such products to restrain growth.
US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez announced last Friday that the US government has decided to re-impose quotas on three types of apparel imports, including cotton knit shirts, cotton trousers, and cotton and man-made fiber underwear, from China.
"The integration of global textile trade reflects great progress in the world's multilateral trade system and as major trade countries, both China and the US should jointly preserve such a fruit from a long-term of point of view," Wen said.
"We two countries should properly handle those problems in compliance with the five points of consensus on developing Sino-US trade and economic ties," Wen said.
Sino-US trade soared by more than 60 times in the last two decades, proving "Chinese and US economic and trade cooperation is reciprocal and reasonable," according to Wen.
Statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce show that Sino-US trade has grown from US$2.5 billion 26 years ago to US$169.6 billion in 2004.
"Such a development has promoted the two countries' economic progress and brought concrete benefits for the people of both countries," Wen said.
During Wen's last trip to the US in 2003, the two sides agreed to expand trade and economic cooperation and reached five points of consensus, which stressed mutual-benefits, development, dialogue and coordination, equality and the promise to not mix trade issues with politics.
Wen said China does not seek large trade surpluses and it only accounted for 2.8 percent of China's trade volume last year, which exceeded US$1,000 billion for the first time and hit US$1,150 billion.
The premier also urged the US to open its market to China and end restrictions on US exports of high-tech products to China in a bid to increase US exports to China and reduce its trade deficit.
Donohue said that the US government and business circles both agree that the Sino-US ties are very important and expanding bilateral economic and trade cooperation benefit the two sides.
He urged the governments of both nations to take positive measures according to WTO rules to jointly settle the problems.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2005)