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Trade spats hem in China garment makers
Updated: 2005-10-02 14:27

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) - While China has been butting heads with Europe and the United States over its garment exports this year, Sit Chat Keung has been scratching his for ways to stay in business.

Trade spats hem in China garment makers
Textile products are on display in a shop in Shanghai September 28, 2005. [Reuters]
It hasn't been an easy year for the Yimi Brassieres and Underwear Factory Co. Ltd., of which Sit is general manager.

Business has been tested by "safeguard" measures the European Union and the United States adopted to hold back the wave of Chinese clothing imports after the abolition of a decades-old quota system on January 1.

Sit watched as some of the underwear and bras that his workers snip and sew were suddenly placed on the restricted lists, and orders have been delayed. When more than 80 million Chinese garments piled up at EU ports, barred from entry, about 100,000 items from Sit's factory were among them.

"Nobody thought this would happen. Everyone thought things would work according to the WTO rules," Sit said.

More than anything, the conflicts and confusion since January have forced Chinese clothing exporters' to be nimble. Diversify has become the name of the game.

This week, after Beijing and Washington failed in their third round of talks to reach a comprehensive agreement on textile and garment trade for the coming years, the industry looked set for more uncertainty.

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