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US quotas 'hurt textile industry'
By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-16 05:21

The newly-implemented US safe-guard measures against three categories of textile products imported from China pose a great threat to the domestic textile industry, according to Chinese textile manufacturers and analysts.

A worker tends a textile machine at a mill in Liaocheng, Shandong Province May 16, 2005. The mill is one of the factories making textile products for the US market. [newsphoto]
"The move of the United States hurts the interests of Chinese textile enterprises, particularly those who specialize in these categories," Gao Hong, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said yesterday.

The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, a panel comprising officials from the Department of Commerce and other government agencies, announced on Friday the re-imposition of quotas on three categories of textile imports from China: cotton knit shirts and blouses; cotton trousers; and underwear made of cotton and man-made fibres.

Through the measure, the United States hopes to keep the year-on-year import growth rate of these products under 7.5 per cent.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan said on Saturday that the US decision was based on inaccurate statistics gathered in the first quarter of this year, adding that it violated the free trade principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"China reserves the right to take further action within the WTO framework," he said.

Du Yuzhong, president of the China National Textile Industry Council, said statistics from the first three months of the year could not justify US restrictions on its textile imports.

He quoted statistics from the General Administration of Customs which show that China's total textile exports reached some US$22.9 billion over the period, up 18.9 per cent from a year earlier.

However, Du said, January and February accounted for a large proportion of the increase while the growth rate of March stood at less than 3.3 per cent, far below the 25.7 per cent growth rate of a year earlier.

The sharp drop in the expansion of textile exports to the United States indicated that the country's measures to further control exports had taken effect, said Du.

Since their launch, experts have warned domestic textile exporters to be wary of the new US safeguards so they do not use up a year's quota in a few months.

The investigation into Chinese textile imports that led to the safeguard measures was launched earlier in April by the US side.

The European Union also launched an investigation into nine categories of textile products from China.

(China Daily 05/16/2005 page2)

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