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China 'greatly concerned' over textile dispute
Updated: 2005-06-05 09:02

A senior Chinese official urged the United States to properly settle the Sino-US textile trade issue and claimed that the protection of intellectual property rights are progressing in China.

"Sino-US economic and trade ties are generally good and the Chinese government attaches importance to such relations," Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi told US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Trade representative Rob Portman here Saturday.

Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, right, shakes hands with US Trade representative Rob Portman as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez looks on in Beijing, China, Saturday, June 4, 2005. [AP]
"I hope China and the United States can jointly preserve and promote sound and cooperative economic and trade ties between the two countries," she said.

Wu, who is in charge of China's foreign trade and investment, appreciated US President George W. Bush's "foresight and courage," calling him a "politician and strategist" when he vetoed several bills which might have hurt Sino-US economic relations.

However, she said, the textile issue has created a "major problem" about which the Chinese government is "greatly concerned."

The US government decided to restrict Chinese textile and clothing imports earlier this year, despite the elimination of such quotas by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Jan. 1.

The US's actions sparked anger in the Chinese textile and clothing industry. Reports have said up to 100,000 Chinese jobs may be affected.

The textile trade issue is a "major and principled" question which concerns China's national economy and the people's livelihood, and the US restriction has rattled not only Chinese textile industry but also common people's confidence in the international multilateral trade system, Wu said.

On the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR), Wu said theChinese government "attaches importance" to protection of both foreign and Chinese companies' IPR.

"China has exerted great efforts and obtained obvious results in both legislation and law enforcement....We don't deny that there are problems but they are being settled," Wu said.

The vice premier said she hopes the 16th meeting of the Sino-USJoint Commission of Commerce and Trade (JCCT) will be used to solve the current problems.

Gutierrez and Portman said the Bush administration "believes" in "fair" and "free" trade, values US-China economic and trade relations, and hopes to have a successful JCCT meeting.

Gutierrez left Beijing after the meeting, concluding his first visit to China after taking office.

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