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State seeks resolution to textile issue
By Hu Qihua and Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-12 00:06

China has pledged to ensure more effective macro control of its textile sector and work with the European Union (EU) on a way to resolve the trade issue.

Premier Wen Jiao(R) meets with Eu representatives(from L-R) Christopher Hum, Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Jean Asselborn in Beijing May 11, 2005. [newsphoto]

"We will take further economic measures to prevent an over-rapid growth of China's textile and garment exports," a Foreign Ministry spokesman quoted Premier Wen Jiabao as saying in his meeting with visiting representatives of the EU troika yesterday.

The measures are also aimed at restructuring China's textile sector and ensuring its healthy and sustainable growth, Wen said.

The premier stressed both sides should fully understand and analyze the cause of the textile trade dispute.

"To ease the current dispute we need both sides to make efforts," Wen said, adding the two should continue negotiations and strengthen communication while keeping the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in mind.

The representatives of the EU troika, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and British Ambassador to China Christopher Hum, arrived in Beijing yesterday and are expected to attend a series of activities marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the European Union today.

The two sides discussed topics covering the EU's 16-year-long arms embargo on China, festering textile trade disputes and the Taiwan question.

The Chinese premier stressed that China's self-imposed measures on textile exports have born positive results, adding that all the countries should work for fair and free trade.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson also acknowledged last week that measures adopted by China this year had helped to slow the growth of its textile exports to the EU.

"Wen has clearly indicated that China will strengthen macro control over rapid increases in its exports of textiles and clothing, which will probably become a guide for China's other industries that may face the same challenge in international trade," said Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.

"In other words, China is increasingly taking a responsible role in dealing with trade disputes with its partners."

Ruan added that Wen's remarks, which can be regarded as a reaction to the EU's fear that China's textiles will flood its market, also demonstrate the growing mutual trust between China and the EU.

During yesterday's meeting with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, the EU diplomats described China as a responsible player in international affairs, saying that the EU and China share a similar wish of building multilateralism.

Ferrero-Waldner told reporters after the meeting that she did not want to see EU-China relations "overshadowed" by the arms embargo issue.

Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, holder of the rotating EU presidency, said he hoped the two sides could find a solution to the issue soon so they could focus on other areas of bilateral relations.

The diplomats also expressed the EU's wish to expand co-operation with China in the fields of trade, investment, education, science and technology, environmental protection and energy.

(China Daily 05/12/2005 page1)

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