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Third-round U.S.-Chinese textile talks end without agreement

Third-round U.S.-Chinese textile talks end without agreement

   The third round of meetings between U.S. and Chinese textile negotiators, held in Washington, D.C., ended in failure Wednesday night.

   The aim of the talks was to reach a broad agreement on imports of apparel and textile products from China.

   'We were able to make progress, particularly with product coverage and quota levels, but we did not reach an agreement,' said David Spooner, special textile negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

   The United States has been using its right under China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to invoke safeguards in cases of market disruption or the threat of market disruption.

   'Our preference is to seek a longer-term solution that will permit the orderly development of the textile and apparel trade,' Spooner said in a statement.

   He added that 'the United States will have no hesitation in walking away from a bad deal.'

   'Significant differences remain between the two sides. China's proposal is still unacceptable to the U.S. textile industry in terms of breadth of coverage and in length, meaning the number of years covered,' said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), a Washington-based organization representing domestic U.S. textile manufacturers.

   Under terms of China's WTO accession agreement, U.S. safeguards on textile and apparel imports from China may not be enacted annually after 2008.

   'For the first time, China began to negotiate constructively, but it still has a significant way to go before we can reach a deal that the industry can support,' said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).

   Both sides agreed to continue negotiations. Spooner explained that 'we will be meeting with the Chinese again next month, and will be consulting with them soon on the location and exact date' for a fourth round of talks.

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