Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Hsieh: nab China's orders

AGENCIES , TAIPEI AND BEIJING

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) urged Taiwan's textile and garment exporters yesterday to grab the opportunity presented byUS authorities' ongoing investigations into whether to impose import tariffs on textile imports from China.

Speaking during a regular Executive Yuan meeting, Hsieh said that as a result of the investigation, many textile and garment orders have been flowing out of China to other countries, including Taiwan.

China and the US began a sixth round of talks in Beijing yesterday aimed at settling a drawn-out dispute on China's soaring textile exports amid industry doubts of success. However, government officials have maintained a brave face since the last round of negotiations ended without agreement in Washington last month.

Issues under discussion include the level of quotas to be imposed on Chinese imports by the US, their duration, and what period they will be benchmarked against.

The two-day talks are aimed at a comprehensive agreement to regulate Chinese textile shipments which have soared since global quotas were scrapped on Jan. 1.

Since then, the US government has slapped what it calls "cumbersome" quotas on individual categories of Chinese textile exports. Last week, Washington irked Beijing by accepting a US industry request to consider quotas on another 13 types of Chinese textile exports, bringing the number that could be restricted to 27.

Since the trade dispute began, export orders from the US have been flowing to Taiwan, and manufacturers in the Tainan area are now operating at full capacity to meet these orders, Hsieh said.

Hsieh instructed the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Council of Labor to work out measures to help Taiwan's textile industry take on as many textile and garment orders released from China as possible.

For example, he said, textile and garment manufacturers should be encouraged to move their operations into the Chang Ping Industrial Park (彰濱工業區) in central Taiwan where many plant openings are available and where operators are entitled to governmental investment incentives.

According to MOEA officials, Taiwan's textile and garment exports have averaged about US$12.5 billion annually in recent years, compared with US$2.6 billion in imports, giving Taiwan a trade surplus of roughly US$9.9 billion annually in the sector.

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