Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Beijing protests fresh US restrictions


Beijing yesterday protested new US restrictions on textile imports from China a day after it revalued its currency in a move likely to make Chinese exports more expensive.

"The Chinese government is firmly opposed and strongly dissatisfied" with the US decision to limit imports of Chinese woollen trousers, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan (崇泉) said in a statement on the ministry Web site.

Chong said that a decision on Friday by the US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements to impose the new restrictions broke free trade rules and threatened to raise the matter with the World Trade Organization.

The US was granted special safeguard measures in China's 2001 WTO accession protocol to protect the US market from a fresh surge of Chinese textile imports.

"The US decision lacks sufficient facts and goes against the principle and orientation of the WTO agreement on textile and garments, as well as the spirit of free trade that the WTO advocates," Chong said.

"The Chinese government reserves the right to take further actions within the framework of the WTO," he said.

The US has already re-imposed import quotas on seven categories of Chinese textile exports, expected to halt imports of up to US$2.5 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The move comes after global textile quotas were abolished on January 1 as part of WTO efforts to liberalize trade.

The move also comes after the US praised China for revaluating its currency, the Chinese yuan, on Thursday.

The currency changes are likely to make Chinese goods more expensive in Western markets, and in the long run could prove more effective than quotas in limiting the impact of Chinese textile exports.

China has also urged the US to negotiate new limits instead of unilaterally implementing the WTO safeguards.

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