No progress in US-China textile talks

Two days of talks between US and Chinese officials on a free-trade dispute over textiles have ended without agreement, an industry official said.

    China is locked in textile-export disputes with the US and EU

    The president of the US National Council of Textile Organisations, Cass Johnson, said on Wednesday that no progress had been made.

    "The two sides were too far apart on all the major issues ... the Chinese did not appear interested in moving off their position, and the US side said, 'We're going home'," Johnson said.
      
    The council president and other representatives of US industry have been in Beijing over the past two days to follow the talks.
      
    A US embassy spokesperson said earlier on Wednesday that the American team, led by David Spooner, and the Chinese delegation, led by Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, held a long morning meeting followed by a shorter afternoon session.
      
    The talks, the fourth in an ongoing series of discussions, had been scheduled to last two days. Spooner is set to leave Beijing early on Thursday.

    EU perspective

    Meanwhile, the EU's executive has said that while it is keen to end its trade dispute with China, five members are believed to oppose a compromise being discussed.

    "There was a strong consensus among member states that the current situation needs to be resolved as rapidly as possible and that blocked goods need to be unblocked," the European Commission said in a statement on Wednesday.

    Despite the smiles, China and the
    EU have made little progress

    The statement was released after Europe's top trade official, Peter Mandelson, briefed EU ambassadors on developments in the crisis, which it is feared could spark clothing shortages or price increases.

      

    Tens of millions of garments, including sweaters, trousers, blouses, T-shirts, bras and tonnes of flax yarn, are being held in European ports because they exceed an EU quota imposed in June to protect European manufacturers.

      

    The backlog stems from goods that were already in transit when the June accord was struck, but also from a surge in orders immediately after the deal was announced. The deal came into effect on 12 July.

      

    An EU diplomat said Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Portugal had opposed a plan submitted to the ambassadors to let products ordered before 12 July enter the Union.

    SOURCE: AFP


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