U.S., China attempt to cool down textile trade dispute
The United States and China took steps last week to begin cooling down a long-standing trade dispute over textiles and apparel.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, American imports of textiles and apparel from China reached $11.6 billion in 2003, while U.S. exports of similar products totaled only $225 million. China’s textile exports to the United States began taking off when quotas were lifted on a number of products in 2001.
Since then, U.S. industry has alleged that China’s trade policies and practices, such as high tariffs, improper customs valuations, arbitrary import taxes and licensing, and domestic subsidies, has significantly hampered their ability to compete in the Chinese market.
On Nov. 17, 2003, the U.S. Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) determined that imports of Chinese-made brassieres, robes and knit fabric were causing market disruption. Quotas were put into place on Dec. 24 for a one-year period. Since then, the U.S. and Chinese government have held two consultations to try to resolve the dispute.
During the April 21 U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington, both countries agreed to improve their textile and apparel trade relations.
The countries committed to discussions addressing mutual trade and investment opportunities, barriers to U.S. exports of textile products to China, intellectual property rights, and possible scenarios for the bilateral textile trade relationship when quotas are phased out at the end of this year, the Commerce Department said.