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'Pragmatic solution' urged for textile quotas
Updated: 2005-08-25 09:42

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson called for a "pragmatic solution" to rapidly filling quotas on Chinese textiles and urged "goodwill on all sides" as EU negotiators head to Beijing for talks, AFP reported Thursday.

'Pragmatic solution' urged for textile quotas
EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson. [AFP/filephoto]
"We now need a pragmatic solution that deals with the immediate overshoot and with goodwill on all sides, we can do this," Mandelson said in a statement.

The comments were made following a meeting of EU members -- which was not attended by Mandelson -- where there was "a clear and general agreement on the urgency of the situation regarding blocked textile imports from China," the statement said Wednesday.

The expression of unity comes amid an emerging division between mainly textile producing member states such as France, Italy and Portugal, who originally lobbied for the quotas, and others, such as the Nordic countries, that have growing reservations about the restrictions.

At the same time, Mandelson is coming under fierce pressure to review quotas he agreed with Chinese authorities in June on 10 textile categories because six are now full, causing millions of garments to be blocked by customs along supply-chains -- much to the anger of big European retailers.

In the face of his critics, Mandelson said: "I reject the view that retailers are simply complaining because the restrictions are beginning to bite.

"Equally, the (June) agreement was prepared over months not days and everyone went into it with their eyes wide open," he added.

Facing growing pressure from retailers, Brussels has said that it is willing to be more flexible about quotas.

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