TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

China: US Textile Talks Fail, New Safeguards Announced

Friday, 02 September 2005

Source: Just

The latest round of talks between China and the United States has failed to reach a comprehensive textile agreement, although discussions are due to continue today in an attempt to reach a compromise.

The two sides met in Beijing this week to try to find some way of halting soaring US imports of Chinese-made textiles and clothing. Year to date statistics released by the US government’s Office of Textiles and Apparel show that total US textile and apparel imports by volume from China are up 47 per cent in 2005 compared to 2004.

However, it looks unlikely that an agreement will be reached ahead of a visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao to Washington next week.

“Despite our best efforts we were not able to reach a broader agreement. The United States remains optimistic that we can continue to make progress on the remaining issues,” David Spooner, the head of the US negotiators, said in a statement.

He added that Washington would be consulting with Beijing over the next few days on a date for the next round of talks.

In a separate move, the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) yesterday voted to cap imports of synthetic filament fabric (category 620) and brassieres and other body-supporting garments (category 349/649).

Commerce deputy assistant secretary Jim Leonard said: “We will continue to consult with the Chinese government to find a solution that will permit the orderly development of textile and apparel trade.”

CITA has requested consultations with the Government of China on these products and has put in place quotas that will limit the growth in imports to 7.5 percent a year.

CITA also said it was delaying until 1 October 2005 a decision on whether to restrict imports of cotton and manmade fibre sweaters (category 345/645/646), cotton and manmade fibre dressing gowns and robes (category 350/650), men’s and boys’ wool trousers (category 447), and knit fabric (category 222).

The US government already has safeguards in place on cotton trousers, manmade fibre trousers, cotton shirts, manmade fibre shirts, men’s and boys cotton and manmade fibre woven shirts, cotton and manmade fibre underwear, socks, and combed cotton yarn.