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China says differences with US on textile
Updated: 2005-08-18 20:21

China said on Thursday there were still major differences with the United States on how to resolve disputes over Chinese textile exports, but that it hoped that future talks would yield an agreement, Reuters reported.

A Chinese shopkeeper measures a roll of cloth at a textile shop in Shanghai August 17, 2005. U.S. and Chinese officials began two days of trade talks that American manufacturing groups hope will lead to limits on surging textile imports from China. [Reuters]

The statement came after U.S. and Chinese negotiators held a round of talks in San Francisco this week to discuss the Bush administration's safeguard measures capping imports of shirts, pants and other clothing from China.

"Because the two sides still have substantial differences in some matters of principle, the two sides have agreed to continue discussions on this issue and jointly seek a way to resolve the issue," the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The talks, mandated by the World Trade Organization when safeguard curbs are invoked, were expected by some in the U.S. textile industry to lay the groundwork for future negotiations.

American textile makers are seeking further limits on imports of Chinese clothing, which have skyrocketed this year after the expiry of a global textile quota system.

Under safeguard measures China agreed to when it joined the WTO at the end of 2001, the United States earlier this year capped import growth for several categories of Chinese apparel at 7.5 percent.

U.S. manufacturers and lawmakers have pressed the government for a comprehensive deal that would apply that cap to Chinese clothing through 2008, when the safeguard mechanism expires.

Importers and retailers, who say the curbs raise prices and hurt consumers, want a pact allowing for growth of at least 20 to 25 percent.

Any deal would be similar to one that China struck with the European Union that restricts growth of clothing shipments to between 8 and 12.5 percent through 2007.

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