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EU safeguard measures on textiles opposed
By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-30 04:56

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan yesterday stated the country's opposition to the European Commission's decision to launch safeguard measures on two categories of Chinese textiles.

"This procedure has hurt Chinese textile manufacturers' rights granted by global trade integration and has sent a wrong signal of trade protectionism to the European textile industry," he said.

Chong stressed that the Chinese Government expected to resolve the existing trade disputes through negotiation with the European side.

The European Union (EU) put its argument to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last Friday and asked China to adopt new measures to control its exports of T-shirts and flax yarn to European countries.

However, the step does not mean an end to negotiations, nor that the EU will take immediate action against Chinese textiles.

Instead, Claude Veron-Reville, the spokeswoman of European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, said consultations would be held between the two sides in the coming weeks in a bid to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Since the beginning of this year, China has adopted a series of measures to control textile exports, including imposing export tariffs on 148 categories of textiles and apparel products and strengthening self regulation among textile manufacturers and exporters.

Also, China's Ministry of Finance announced this month to increase the country's export tariffs on certain categories of textiles from June 1, in hopes of easing the concerns of trade partners.

The export duty on T-shirts was increased from 0.2 yuan (2.4 US cents) to 0.8 yuan (9.6 US cents) per unit. And flax yarn was hit with a new tariff of 3 yuan (36 US cents) per kilogram.

However, the European side argued that the impact of the tariffs would be too little too late.

The European Union claimed that its T-shirt imports from China rose 187 per cent in the first four months of this year from a year earlier and that imports of flax yarn rose by 56 per cent year-on-year.

It said these increases had significantly hurt not only its domestic textile manufacturing industry but the textile manufacturers of other developing countries.

(China Daily 05/30/2005 page1)

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