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U.S., China to hold more textile talks
Updated: 2005-08-27 09:22

China and the United States will hold a second round of talks next week in Beijing aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement to limit Chinese clothing and textile exports to the United States, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. delegation led by David Spooner, the administration's special textiles negotiator, will meet with their Chinese counterparts next Tuesday and Wednesday, the administration announced Friday.

Spooner had predicted at the end of the first round of discussions on Aug. 16 and 17 in San Francisco that a deal could be completed with just one further round of talks.

U.S. clothing and textile manufacturers are pushing for an agreement to halt a surge in U.S. imports of Chinese goods that began Jan. 1 with the lifting of global import quotas that had been in effect for more than three decades. U.S. producers say 19 textile plants have been forced to close and 26,000 jobs have been lost in the industry since the beginning of the year.

Lloyd Wood, a spokesman for the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said Friday that the industry was hopeful that a deal can be reached next week. The administration has already granted a number of petitions filed by U.S. manufacturers to impose so-called safeguard controls on imports of various categories of clothing, limiting them to growth of just 7.5 percent a year.

The United States is allowed to re-impose quotas under the safeguard provisions that were included when China was granted membership in the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Retailers contend the quota limits are too stringent and a number of companies have already hit limits for this year in bringing in new products to the United States.

"The United States must not create yet another textile agreement that leads domestic manufacturers to believe that they have a right to permanent protection or that puts importers and retailers at risk of shortages and sticks consumers with unnecessary and regressive price hikes," said Laura E. Jones, executive director of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, the group that represents American retailers.

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U.S., China to hold more textile talks


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