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Bo: Solve textile disputes properly
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-04 00:55

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea: China's commerce minister is to hold talks in Beijing with the visiting US commerce secretary.

Certain to be on the agenda is the two nation's current dispute over Chinese textile exports.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum in South Korea on Friday, commerce minister Bo Xilai said China is willing to solve textile disputes with the United States and the European Union (EU) within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Branding restrictions on Chinese textiles "protectionism," Bo said the fixing of quotas was against the free trade principles of the WTO, the Doha Development Agenda and the APEC forum.

Washington and Brussels have both recently opted to impose restrictions on Chinese textile imports..

In response, China announced on Monday that it would lift, as from June 1, export tariffs on 81 categories of textile products that it previously imposed to curb exports of Chinese textile products.

"As a responsible nation in international trade, the Chinese Government had held meetings to discuss measures to make steady flow of Chinese textiles to the US and EU markets," said Bo.

China has adopted 10 additional measures beyond its WTO commitments to slow down the increasing pace of the textile products, Bo said.

"We cannot understand why the US and the EU still decided to impose quantitative restrictions on Chinese textiles," Bo said.

He also said the restrictions will hit Chinese textile enterprises seriously.

"Every textile product that the United States and the EU have restricted involves at least 2,000-6,000 Chinese companies and thousands of people," said Bo.

On January 1, 2005, when the global textile quotas were eliminated according to WTO rules, China voluntarily imposed export tariffs on 148 categories of textile products in order to limit export surge.

On May 20, China again decided to raise export tariffs on 74 categories of textile products.

The Chinese official attributed the current friction to the fact that some countries did not make use of the 10-year transitional period to adjust the structure of their industries and phase out their quota systems.

"It's unfair to attribute problems to a surge in Chinese textile exports," Bo said.

The minister noted that enjoying the integration of textile trade in the global market is the outcome of China's balanced rights and obligations in its accession to the WTO.

"We got the right after we promised to open services, trade and agriculture markets to the world," Bo said.

The minister confirmed he held a breakfast meeting with Robert Portman, US trade representative, on Friday and exchanged views over the textile dispute.

visiting US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez met with Ma Kai, minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission in Beijing on Friday. Ma said China and the United States should solve the trade dispute through discussion instead of adopting sanctions measures.

Concerning the US trade deficit with China, Ma said that the best way to address the problem should be to increase exports of US products to China, high-tech products in particular. The import restriction of Chinese goods to the US market "will not do any good," he said.

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