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US limits some China textile imports
Updated: 2005-09-01 15:18

The United States acted on Thursday to restrict imports of Chinese-made bras and synthetic filament fabric used to make high-end clothing after failing to reach a comprehensive textile trade agreement with China, the U.S. Commerce Department said, Reuters reported.

"Today's announcement demonstrates the administration's commitment to leveling the playing field for U.S. industries by enforcing our trade agreements," Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Leonard said in a statement. "We will continue to consult with the Chinese to find a solution that will permit the orderly development of textile and apparel trade."

The announcement came on the third day of talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing aimed at crafting an agreement to slow surging shipments of low-cost Chinese clothing to the United States. U.S. industry officials monitoring the negotiations said on Wednesday those talks had failed, but U.S. negotiators refused to confirm that until after a final negotiating session on Thursday.

"Despite our best efforts we were not able to reach a broader agreement," David Spooner, special U.S. textile negotiator, said in a statement. "The United States remains optimistic that we can continue to make progress on the remaining issues. We will be consulting with the Chinese over the next few days on the date and location of the next round of negotiations."

The Bush administration, which has already blocked imports of billions of dollars of Chinese-made underwear, shirts and trousers this year, had been scheduled to decide by Wednesday whether to restrict Chinese clothing imports in several additional categories.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday it would invoke an emergency World Trade Organization provision to restrict imports of Chinese-made bras and some synthetic filament fabric.

But it delayed a decision on curbing imports of sweaters, robes, wool trousers and knit fabric until October 1, or a little more than one month.

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