China will impose duties on textile and clothing exports to ease global concerns its producers could flood markets when a decades-old quota system is lifted next month, state press reported yesterday.
"We will impose export duties on certain textile products," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan (
"This is part of a string of measures China will take to ensure a smooth transition for textile integration following the end of the quota system," Chong said.
China would tax its own textile goods based on volume rather than value as a way to encourage the production of higher-end textiles, he said, adding industry associations and producers had been consulted about the changes.
"The tariff rate will be set by considering the conditions of textile manufacturers," Chong said.
Decades-long quotas that have governed the apparel trade will be lifted on Jan. 1, according to the 1995 Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which amended the multifiber arrangement.
The WTO agreement means Chinese producers, already the globe's dominant makers of low-to-medium end textiles and clothing, could capture as much as 50 percent of the international market.
Textile producing nations, worried about China's production muscle, have urged the WTO to extend the quota-free deadline until Dec. 31, 2007.
Chong promised Chinese enterprises would be encouraged to export in an orderly way as they look to overseas business opportunities.
"We will encourage Chinese enterprises to invest abroad, and provide them with policy support in their foreign investment," Chong said.
Public information, meanwhile, would be made available on investment in the textile industry to prevent over-heating.
Chong added industry standards would be promoted to help bring manufacturers' management in line with international practices.
China faces a "safeguard arrangement" in the new rules that allows any WTO member to limit imports if it finds local markets are being disrupted. Last month Washington accepted an appeal by a lobby group that has demanded restrictions on certain cotton yarn imports because it was damaging markets at home.