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Domestic textile industry considers countermeasures to US action
( 2003-06-24 07:30) (China Daily)

The Chinese textile industry is deliberating countermeasures as United States textile associations are trying to persuade their government to limit textile imports from China.

Sun Huaibin, a senior official from the China Textile Industry, said they will seek support from the Chinese Government and lobby the US Government through an alliance with the US textile traders.

The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) said the six largest trade associations representing the US textile and fibre industry have unanimously approved plans for a lobbying campaign to restrict imports from China.

"We will ask for the government to communicate with the US Government as we believe the charges by these associations are groundless,'' Sun said.

"If the United States moves to implement restrictions on Chinese exports, we will ask the relevant departments of the Chinese Government for countermeasures to protect Chinese textile manufacturers,'' he added.

The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements under the US Department of Commerce last month published procedures regarding safeguard measures on Chinese textiles, despite strong opposition from China.

The procedures laid out a legal basis for the US to impose safeguards against textile and apparel products of Chinese origin on which the United States has agreed to lift quota limitations.

On September 5 last year, the ATMI had filed a petition to request the US Government impose quotas on knitted fabrics, brassieres, gloves, nightwear and textile luggage from China. But it was not accepted as the procedures had not set up.

Under the terms of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001, WTO members may impose specific safeguard measures or quotas on Chinese textile and apparel products if the importing country determines that such shipments from China disrupt or threaten to disrupt the market.

Cao Xinyu, deputy director of the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Textiles, reiterated China was not disrupting the market.

He believed the establishment of such procedures are an abuse of the WTO rules.

He said China's increase in its textile exports to the United States was mostly achieved by displacing other countries' exports, not by dramatically increasing US imports.

Sun said they will form a close alliance with US importers and retailers to lobby the US Government as these traders's interests will be damaged if the restriction is imposed.

"So the United States should be more cautious in starting this procedure, which will benefit no side,'' the official said.

The United States and European Union (EU) eliminated quotas on 97 Chinese goods in 2002. Quota restrictions on another 17 items were also partially lifted.

China's textile exports to the United States last year were valued at US$7.07 billion, surging by 15 per cent. Exports to the EU also increased by 23 per cent to US$6.417 billion.

China's rapidly growing textile exports have alarmed some trading partners, prompting the local industries to call for restrictions on Chinese-made products.

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