Chinese, US officials discussing apparel quotas
Chinese and U.S. negotiators look set to make compromises in their bid to reach a deal resetting quotas of importing inexpensive Chinese apparel to the U.S. market.
The talks, being held in Beijing, is the fourth round of bilateral discussions on textiles trade, which not only concerns Chinese exports, but also has a bearing on American importers, retailers and consumers.
Ever since China and EU reached a deal restricting Chinese apparel sales to
Europe in June, some European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and
Nordic countries, are amounting criticism of the restrictions, which have made
life of the small retailers and many consumers there more difficult.
The two countries¡¯ negotiators, who failed to reach an agreement when they met in San Francisco earlier this month, are hoping to find enough common ground to clinch a deal during a fourth round of talks that began Tuesday in Beijing.
"There is increased likelihood that China and the United States can make substantial progress or even sign an agreement during the fourth round of talks," the International Business Daily quoted Cao Xinyu, Vice Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export Textiles, as saying.
Prospects for a deal had improved as differences sides had narrowed from both sides, China Securities Journal said in a front-page column.
Consensus could be reached this week, with a final deal signed in Washington, the paper cited industry experts as saying.
Washington wants to negotiate a comprehensive agreement governing Chinese clothing imports through the end of 2008, when WTO safeguard measures that can be invoked expire. Beijing is believed to favor a shorter pact, perhaps of only one year, the Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The Bush administration is scheduled to decide on Wednesday on industry requests for emergency restrictions on six more categories of Chinese clothing and textiles, including bras, sweaters, dressing gowns and knit fabric.
Importers and retailers in the United States, who say that current curbs
raise prices and hurt consumers, want a pact allowing for growth of at least 20
to 25 percent.