San Francisco: China and the United States have begun talks on a comprehensive textile trade agreement in San Francisco yesterday.
The two-day talks are expected to centre on the seven categories on which the US imposed quotas in late May this year, according to information published by the US Trade Representative Office.
The ministry of commerce said last week that the ongoing round of talks was still technical. The two sides failed to reach an agreement at the two previous rounds of talks in June and July.
However, some US textile importers and retailers have criticized Washington for imposing limits on Chinese textile products, saying that America's annual clothing bill could rise $6bn, or $20 for each US consumer, if China agrees to restrain textile exports.
Since a three-decade system of clothing and textile quotas expired January 1, clothing shipments are up 58 per cent, a rise that has played a big part in pushing the cost of clothing down at an annual rate of 5.9 per cent for the three months ending in June.
In another development, some EU countries, including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, are pressing the European Commission to relax its quotas on China's textile and apparel products.
In June the EU negotiated a comprehensive arrangement with China that covered 10 categories and allowed growth in shipments of 8.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent annually through 2007. But Chinese textile exporters have already reached the EU ceiling in sweaters and trousers, and used more than 80 per cent of the quotas on T-shirts, blouses and bras.