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Sharp rise of textile exports to EU, US curbed
Updated: 2005-05-13 15:27

The surging of China's textile and clothing exports to the United States and the European Union countries following an abolition of quotas has been curbed to some extent thanks to China's series of self-imposed measures.

East China's Jiangsu Province, a key exporter of textiles, reported a diminished pace in textile exports in the first quarter from a year-on-year growth rate of 39.2 percent in January to 11.5 percent in March.

Figures showed the province's growth in textile exports to the US dropped from 117.8 percent in January to 63.3 percent in March while the increase to the EU also went down to 17 percent in March after pronounced rises in January and February.

Southwest China's Yunnan Province registered exports of 6.76 million articles of clothing in first quarter, around 3 million less than that from the same period last year, and exports of 32 products decreased by 70 percent on average owning to newly-added export taxes on them.

Statistics offered by Ministry of Commerce showed that China's exports of textile and clothing totaled US$22.4 billion in the first quarter, up 19.1 percent, but 5.6 percentage points less than the growth rate over the same time last year.

Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said last week in Paris that China's efforts to curb the dramatic rise in exports of textiles and clothing had born fruits.

On January 1, an international textile quota system expired, leaving producers in the United States and the European Union countries to face a wave of imports from China, whose manufacturers benefit from cheap labor and huge economies of scale.

Both the EU and the United States are alarmed over the surge in Chinese textile and clothing imports and the EU, arguing the surge might disrupt their markets, has launched an investigation into nine products as the first step towards applying limits.

But Chinese experts said the surge in Chinese textile exports was inevitable after the lifting of the quotas imposed by the US and EU countries, which held back the Chinese exporting strength for so long, said the experts.

The increase was also a result of changes in international trading rules and the low prices derived from an adjustment of textile export structure and a sufficient competition in the world market after the quota era, they said.

In order to soften the shock wave and achieve balanced trade, the Chinese government has taken voluntary measures, including adding a textile export tax, strengthening self-discipline among textile producers and exporters, curbing investment in the sector, encouraging big textile companies to invest abroad.

During a meeting with EU "troika" foreign ministers on Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed, despite the fact that self-imposed measures on textile exports have born positive results, China will take further economic measures to ensure the healthy, sustainable growth of the sector.

As the largest producer and exporter of textile and clothing in the world, China's textile exports totaled US$95.1 billion last year, making up 16 percent of the total.

Six provinces and municipalities in southeastern China, including Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian and Guangdong, are the key exporters while Hong Kong SAR, Japan, EU, Russia and the US are the main Chinese mainland's textile importers.

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