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 user 2005-05-24 at 12:56:00 pm Views: 48
  • #9623

    China Tries to Avert Export Clash With U.S.

    BEIJING (May 05) – China on Friday announced new tariffs
    that it hopes will hold down surging textile exports, trying to avert a trade
    war with the United States and Europe after Washington imposed import

    Beijing took the step despite accusing Washington of
    treating China unfairly and saying earlier U.S. and European market barriers
    were to blame for the surge in Chinese textile imports after a worldwide quota
    system expired on Jan. 1.

    The new measure takes effect June 1 and will raise tariffs
    on 74 types of goods by up to 400 percent, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
    It didn’t give details, but said China now charges tariffs of 2 to 4 percent on
    148 categories of textile and clothing exports. That would mean the new tariffs
    could range from 10 to 20 percent.

    French Industry Minister Patrick Devedjian, who was
    visiting Beijing, welcomed the move, saying, “there’s no doubt it’s the right

    In Washington, Commerce Department spokesman Dan Nelson
    didn’t offer much insight into U.S. thoughts on China’s action. He said there
    will be “an opportunity for discussion” about China’s tariffs announcement when
    the two countries consult in late May over recent decisions by the U.S. to
    impose limits on certain types of Chinese clothing shipped to America.

    The Bush administration was in the process of reviewing
    China’s list of textile exports that it will boost tariffs on, a government
    official said.

    Textiles are one of a series of disputes that have strained
    relations between China and its trading partners. The United States, EU and
    other governments also are pressing Beijing to raise the state-set value of its
    currency and to stamp out rampant product piracy.

    Chinese textile producers will have to “make sacrifices,”
    said Sun Huaibin, a spokesman for the official China Textile Industry Council,
    quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency.

    “China is a responsible country, and it is for the purpose
    of helping establish a new world textile trade order and ease the trade friction
    that the government made the concession,” Sun said.

    The American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing welcomed the

    “I think this is going to have a real impact,” said Charles
    M. Martin, the group’s president.

    The tariffs announced Friday are the second Chinese effort
    to hold down exports of low-priced textiles that U.S. and European governments
    say are threatening their producers with bankruptcy.

    China imposed a 1.3 percent export tax on textiles in
    December on the eve of the end of global quotas, but American officials said
    that was too low to make a difference.

    The order by China’s Customs Tariff Commission also cuts
    the tax for knitted garment accessories and three varieties of briefs and shorts
    will be reduced, Xinhua said.

    U.S. imports of low-priced textiles from China this year
    are running at a rate 54 percent above the same period of 2004, according to the
    U.S. Commerce Department.

    Measures imposed Wednesday by the United States limit
    growth of Chinese imports to 7.5 percent a year. They apply to men’s and boy’s
    cotton and man-made fiber shirts, man-made fiber trousers, man-made fiber knit
    shirts and blouses, and combed cotton yarn. On May 13, Washington imposed
    similar restrictions on Chinese-made cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and

    Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai on Wednesday called
    those measures unfair. Bo said the surge in purchases of Chinese textiles was
    due in part to the failure of the United States and Europe to carry out promises
    to open markets before the worldwide quotas ended.

    The EU opened an investigation last month after reporting
    that imports of some Chinese textiles have risen by up to 534 percent since Jan.
    1. The outcome could mean that the bloc re-imposes some quotas.

    EU trade chief Peter Mandelson said this week that European
    producers need “a limited but no less important breathing space.” He said
    production and employment have plummeted in the T-shirt and flax yarn industries
    this year.

    China’s Commerce Ministry on Thursday expressed “firm
    opposition and strong displeasure” to the new U.S. quotas and said it might
    respond by taking action through the World Trade Organization.