China to Levy Textile, Apparel Export Tariffs
Chinese exporters told to prepare for ''increased trade protectionism''
BEIJING, China - 12/13/04 - China has said it will impose increased export tariffs on some textile exports in an effort to defuse the concerns of textile and apparel manufacturers in the US that the planned January 1 scrapping of the three-decades old World Trade Organization-mandated textile quota structure will result in a surge of Chinese textile products disrupting the $350 billion-a-year global textile trade.
US textile manufacturers have filed a number of petitions with the US Department of Commerce requesting protection from imports of a number of Chinese-made products - mainly wool trousers, cotton shirts, women's underwear, blouses, and dressing gowns - they claim would flood the disrupt the market.
In response, the giant US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel - a vocal supporter of the lifting of the quota system - filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to block the government from initiating "protectionist measures" at the behest of US-based companies aimed at limiting apparel and textile imports from China and elsewhere.
The move by Beijing "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," said Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Chong Quan in an interview released early this morning by the government's official Xinhua News Agency.
Designed for the "all-round, coordinated and sustainable progress of Chinese textile exports," the new measure "was adopted on the basis of suggestions from industry associations and textile and apparel producers" said Chong.
The tariff "will help encourage the export of high value-added products and optimize the mix of Chinese textile exports" and "will be set by considering the conditions of textile manufacturers," he said, declining to specify the exact initial tariff rate.
Relevant departments at all levels," he said, "will improve their services, releasing timely information on textile exports and regulating exports with "related departments" offering "timely information on the investment increase in the textile sector, improve risk warning for textile producers and fend off over-investment and repeated construction in the sector."
Beijing, Chong added, "encourages domestic companies to run businesses abroad and will facilitate their trade and offer favorable policies for textile companies intending overseas investment and getting involved in globalization," while "intermediary organizations will play a greater role, industrial self-discipline will be strengthened, and industry standards will be promoted to help bring Chinese manufacturers' management in line with international practices."
Various trade promotion measures can be expected that will be taken "to encourage textile and clothing corporations to create their own brands and increase input in research, development and design so that they can enhance their core competency."
Multilateral and bilateral dialogues and cooperation will be increased among governments, industrial associations and manufacturers so as to safeguard the legitimate rights and benefits of Chinese companies and realize common development, he said.
Chong called on Chinese manufacturers "to prepare for increased trade protectionism against China and other difficulties" following the end of textile quotas.
"Seeking a fundamental change in export growth patterns is a top priority facing China's textile sector," he said.
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