China's textile exports not disrupting US market
Zhang Yankai, deputy chief of the textile division under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), made the remark at the roundtable of China-US Business Dialogue, which was held by CCPIT and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The US government has decided to re-impose quotas on three types of clothing imports from China, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced last Friday. The decision made by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements means that the amount of cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear that China can export to the United States will be limited to increase by just 7.5 percent this year, compared to shipments over a 12-month base period.
A US government probe had found that a surge in shipments from China since global quotas were eliminated on Jan. 1, 2005 was disrupting the domestic market, Gutierrez said in a statement.
Due to long-time quota limitations, China's textile exports to the United States had been restricted to a certain amount, acknowledged Zhang. "After the elimination of global quota, it is natural for China's textile export to the US to rebound for a short period."
Fearing possible restrictive measures by the US government, some US importers increased their textile procurement from China by large amount during the first quarter this year, which did not reflect the long-term trend of Sino-US textile trade, he said, predicting such trade increase will slow down in the latter half of this year.
Customs figures show that China's textile export growth rate dropped to 19 percent in March 2005, down 5 percentage points from the same period last year.
Chong Quan, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said last Saturday that "China firmly opposes a US decision on restricting three categories of textile imports from China," saying that it is a violation of relevant World Trade Organization agreements.
Chong added that the US decision violated the relevant procedures of the United States, damaged the rightful interests of China's businesses and severely undermined the confidence of China 's businesses and people in the world trade environment.
"The US decision is both hasty and unfair, as it was based on controversial statistics from American, which only covered the first three months of the year," said Yang Weidong, general manager of Jifa Textile Group Co. Ltd., a leading textiles producer in east China's Shandong Province.
Ning Jinyun, general manager of Tianjin Textile Import and Export Inc. in north China, said that the company, which sold textiles and clothing worth more than 20 million US dollars to the United States last year, was forced to accept small American orders only this year for "serious concerns about the risks."
"This is really abnormal and painful for a big company like us," said Ning, who was also deeply worried that other countries and regions might follow the example of the United States and "make things harder for Chinese manufacturers and exporters."
China has a comparative advantage in textile manufacture, whilethe United States enjoys an advantage in brands and technology, so the two countries have a bright prospect for cooperation in textile field, Zhang said.
On Jan. 1, 2005, China decided to impose export taxes upon its 148 kinds of textile products so as to voluntarily limit its textile exports.