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US, China may not reach textile deal
Updated: 2005-07-26 07:10

WASHINGTON  - It is unclear whether China and the United States will reach a comprehensive textile trade deal like the one China struck with the European Union, said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

Vice-Premier Wu Yi is flanked by US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (left) and Trade Representative Rob Portman, as they attend the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade yesterday. [Xinhua]
"Whether (the consultation) leads to a so-called comprehensive agreement or not is something we'll see. We are in the talks right now and I don't want to commit to any outcome," Gutierrez said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.

The United States restricted imports of some pants, underwear and other clothing from China in May in response to a surge in shipments following the end of a global quota system on Jan. 1.

Washington acted under a special provision of Beijing's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization, which allows member countries to impose emergency curbs on China's textile and clothing shipments if imports shoot up. That measure expires at the end of 2008.

U.S. textile groups would like the United States and China to negotiate a comprehensive textile pact so they do not have to keep filing petitions through the end of 2008.

The recent EU-China agreement governs bilateral textile trade through the end of 2007. The EU also promised "restraint" in imposing import curbs in 2008.

Gutierrez refused to say if a similarly structured deal would be acceptable to the United States.
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