US slashes Chinese textile quota by 25-35%

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WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Mickey Kantor, the United States Trade Representative, said the US would cut the import quota for Chinese textile products by 25 to 35 per cent, to take effect from 17 January.

Mr Kantor announced the unilateral action following nine unsuccessful months of negotiations between the two countries to control illegal trans-shipments of Chinese- made products through third nations.

Mr Kantor said the new quotas would apply to products that entered the country after 1 January.

China sold about dollars 4.5bn in textile and apparel products to the US in 1993. In addition to this, smuggling and illegal trans-shipments to America were estimated at about dollars 2bn.

'We have said all along that if we could not reach an agreement with China that addressed the problems we have had with textile trade, then we would have to impose quotas at the levels outlined in this notice,' Mr Kantor said. The US was willing to continue negotiating to resolve the dispute, he said.

China has been unwilling to agree to provisions - which have been accepted by 16 other US trading partners - that allow US discipline when trans-shipping occurs, he added.

China did not accept an American offer for textile negotiations this week.

Mr Kantor said the textile trans- shipments harmed American workers and the domestic textile industry. He added that the US would like 'a mutually beneficial textile trade relationship with China' but that relations must be based on fair trade practices.

He said the new US quota 'will cut about dollars 1.1bn to dollars 1.2bn from their shipments'.

But he claimed that the action against China would have little, if any, effect on US consumers.

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