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Sino-US Textile Talks Stop at Red Light

The unscheduled third day of textile talks between China and the US failed to yield a long-expected agreement.


"The talks failed to reach an accord because substantial differences remain on some principle issues," the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement made after the extended fourth round of talks yesterday.


"But the two sides agreed to keep the consultation channel open and will fix the date and location for the next round," the statement said.


This round, which was scheduled for August 30 and 31, was restarted yesterday morning in the ministry.


The special textile negotiator of the US Trade Representative Office, David Spooner, said the two sides "were not able to reach a broader agreement" despite strong efforts.


However, he said: "The US remains optimistic that we can continue to make progress on the remaining issues. We will be consulting with the Chinese side over the next few days on the date and location of the next round of negotiations."


The talks, aiming to solve the two countries' four-month long textile disputes, began on Tuesday morning, with Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng as head of the Chinese delegation and Spooner as head of the US side.


This round of textile talks between the two countries, which was headed by higher-level officials than the previous round in San Francisco last month, had been expected to enjoy great possibilities in terms of reaching an accord.


Song Hong, an analyst with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the breakdown indicated that the two sides still stood far apart in some substantial issues.


Meanwhile, the US government announced yesterday that it was re-imposing quotas on two more categories of Chinese clothing and textile imports, Xinhua reported.


It said that the US would limit imports of fabric made with synthetic filament threads and also bras and other body-supporting undergarments.


The US government also announced it was extending until October 1 a deadline for making decisions in four other cases covering sweaters, dressing gowns, knit fabric and wool trousers.


"Today's announcement demonstrates this administration's commitment to leveling the playing field for US industries by enforcing our trade agreements," said Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Leonard. August 31 is the deadline for the US government to decide on whether to impose new safeguard measures on additional textile imports from China.


"The US restrictions, like a double-edged sword, hurt the interests of not only Chinese manufacturers but also US customers," said Zhou Shijian from the China Association of International Trade.


Before the US-China talks, consultations between China and the EU that started on August 25 also failed to produce a mutually accepted amendment to the agreement signed by trade chiefs of both sides in Shanghai.


(China Daily September 2, 2005)

Ministry: Differences Remain in Textile Dispute
No Apparent Result at Concluded Sino-US Textile Talks
China, US Begin 4th Round of Textile Talks
New Round of Sino-US Textile Talks Expected in Late August
Textiles -- China, US Start New Talks, EU Members Want Quotas Relaxed
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