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US, EU textile limits on China unfair: Bo
Updated: 2005-05-18 12:54

Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said in Beijing on Wednesday at the 2005 Fortune Global Forum that it was unfair that the United States and the European Union had blamed China for the fast growth of Chinese textile exports to their markets and had either imposed or intended to impose restrictions on Chinese products.

Bo Xilai, China's commerce minister, speaks at the Fortune global forum in Beijing May 18, 2005. Bo said the US and EU moves to restrict China's textile exports are unfair. [newsphoto] 
At the forum, which is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday afternoon, Bo said that some developed countries had failed to abide by WTO (World Trade Organization) stipulations, which partly contributed to the short-term rapid growth of China's textile exports.

When the Uruguay round WTO talks were held in 1995, the participants reached an agreement, asking developed countries to gradually ease their quota system for textile and garment products import in 10 years. "But some countries didn't do that. They had kept 70 to 90 percent of the most important quotas in place till the end of last year. Their activity caused the short-term rapid growth of China's textile exports in the first several months this year," said Bo.

"But now the United States and the EU blamed China for such a rapid growth, and tried to set restrictions on China's textile products, it's unfair," he added.

China is a developing country which, after a long time of hard efforts, had created a comparatively competitive textile industry.The industry is low value-added and closely related to the living of a large low-income population.

Averagely, one exported shirt could only make some 30 to 40 cents of profit for China, while a large proportion of the benefits arising from China's textile exports have been shared by importers, retailers and consumers worldwide, said the minister.

Developed countries should not take a "double standard" on international trade, which means they would ask the whole world toopen market to their own competitive industries while keeping their own markets closed in any fields where they have no competitive edge, he said.

"Such activity is obviously in violation of the WTO principle of 'free and fair trade'," said Bo.

On April 4, the United States announced it would stage a 90-day investigation on three categories of China's textile exports, namely cotton shirts and jackets, cotton trousers and underwear bycotton and artificial fabrics.

On April 6, the European Union also issued outlines of special trade protection measures against China's export of textile products, intending to restrict sales of 12 categories of Chinese textiles to the EU market.

On May 13, US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez announced that the US government has decided to re-impose quotas on Chinese-made cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear.

During his meeting with a US Chamber of Commerce delegation in Beijing on May 16, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the US restrictions were "not beneficial" for the sound development of Sino-US trade relations.

"China and the United States should proceed from the long-term perspective and work together to safeguard global textile integration, a major progress made in the world's multi-lateral trading system," said Wen.

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