China is deeply regretful over and firmly opposes the US decision to impose quotas on three types of textile products it imports from China, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said in Beijing Wednesday.
The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) decided Monday to request negotiations on imports from China of knit fabrics, bras, and dressing gowns and robes. The US Administration announced the decision Tuesday.
Requesting negotiations meant imposing limits on imports of the products, trade experts said.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan said the Chinese government and textile industry had pointed out many times that the US textile industry had failed to prove in its application for restriction that the reduction of US textile products was the result of imports from China. This did not conform to the CITA's procedure on special safeguards against Chinese textile products and garments, and the pledges contained in the working group report on China's accession to the World Trade Organization.
"The US administration's decision to request negotiations regardless of China's strong opposition runs against WTO principles on free trade, transparency and non-discrimination," Chong said. "As a WTO member, China reserves the right to lodge lawsuits with relevant organizations of the WTO to safeguard the interests of Chinese industries."
China-US trade and economic relations had grown strongly over the years with joint efforts, said Chong. Over the past two years, US exports of raw textile materials and finished products to China increased rapidly, and the prospects for further exports to China looked good.
But the decision to impose quotas on China's textile products would harm trade between China and the United States, and the interests of the United States.
"China hopes the United States will fully recognize the barrier that special safeguard measures will have on the China-US textile trade and its negative impact on bilateral trade and economic relations," Chong said. "China hopes the United States will avoid abuse of the special safeguard measures."
US to impose quotas on Chinese textile products
The US government announced Tuesday that it had decided to impose quotas on three types of textile products from China.
The decision will affect Chinese imports of knit fabric, dressing gowns and robes and bras.
In announcing the action, US Commerce Secretary Don Evans said that it "demonstrates the Bush administration's commitment to our trade rules and America's workers."
"I believe this will advance our future dealings with China, for no market operates fairly without open dialogue," Evans asserted in a statement.
The US textile industry had petitioned the US government in July for protection through the imposition of quotas, complaining it was being harmed by a flood of textile products from China.
However, consumer groups in the United States said that the government action sets a bad precedent for the future and will encourage the US industry to petition for the re-imposition of other quotas that are scheduled to be totally removed on Jan. 1, 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2003)