Ministry: Big differences with US remain
Updated: 2005-10-15 06:52
China will not sign any agreement that will hurt
China's interests and harm the healthy growth of the country's textile industry,
the Ministry of Commerce said in a strongly-worded statement on Friday.
China is seeking an agreement that will create a stable environment for the
bilateral textile trade with the United States, the ministry said. The
statement, published on the ministry's website, said an agreement could not be
reached because the two sides have differences on "key issues".
An official from the Ministry of Commerce, who declined to be named, told
China Daily that another round of talks seems unlikely.
Negotiators from both sides failed to strike a deal during two days of talks
on textile disputes, which ended on Thursday.
The strong language, rarely used in statements by the Ministry of Commerce,
indicated that large gaps exist between the two sides and a deal is almost
impossible in the near future.
Mei Xinyu, a trade expert from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and
Economic Co-operation, said both sides particularly the United States need to
readjust their expectations if they want to strike a deal.
Insiders said the key differences lie in the annual growth rate of China's
textile exports until 2008.
The United States still hopes it can reach an agreement that would regulate
rising clothing and textile imports from China, but U.S. Trade Representative
Rob Portman told reporters on Friday that he is disappointed that Beijing
rejected a "very generous proposal" .
Portman said the remaining differences, "with one exception which I'm not
going to tell you about because we're still negotiating it," are not
"I would say we're very close," he said.
"We had a very generous proposal for the Chinese but it was not generous
enough for them," Portman told reporters. "Frankly, I'm disappointed. I was
ready and willing to fly the 22 hours to Beijing, and the 22 hours back, in
order to finalize" a deal.
Chinese textile exports soared after the end of a worldwide quota system on
January 1. In the first eight months, China's exports of textiles and clothing
have already grown by 23.7 per cent year-on-year to US$69.3 billion.
During the period, exports to the European Union and United States both
surpassed the total of last year, with volumes of US$12.3 billion and US$10.9
Washington responded to complaints by US producers by imposing controls
limiting the growth in imports of Chinese pants, blouses and other textile goods
to 7.5 per cent a year.