EU launches investigation into textile imports
The European Commission (EC) on Friday launched an investigation into nine categories of textile and apparel products imported from China.
China's Ministry of Commerce reacted by saying the evidence the EC used could not justify the move.
The EC claimed that its textile imports from China rose as much as 500 per cent in some categories in the first quarter over the same period of last year.
"However, the import volume for last year was the sum of 15 European countries while that for this year includes imports to 10 new EU members," said Chong Quan, the ministry's spokesman.
Besides, the spokesman said, only one item under investigation saw a drop in price in the first three months of the year, indicating that China's textile exporters were not disturbing the EU market with low prices.
The EC officially announced it would start the investigation into products ranging from men's trousers and socks to stockings on Thursday.
The investigation, proposed by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson last week, will last for a maximum of 60 days.
China and the EU are expected to hold informal talks on the issue in the coming weeks.
Carlos Fortin, acting secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, suggested the two sides solve textile trade frictions through negotiation and opposed the hasty move of the EC.
Director of the World Trade Organization General Supachai Panitchpakdi was quoted by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week as saying that EU countries and the United States should wait at least a year before taking protective measures.
Meanwhile, the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, an inter-agency group chaired by the US Department of Commerce, announced on Thursday it would consider requests from US manufacturers for safeguard measures against seven categories of textile and apparel imports from China, Xinhua reported.
The US Government decided earlier this month to investigate three categories of textiles imported from China, claiming that surging textile imports had disturbed its domestic industry.