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US-China Textile Talks Fail Again

  • Luis Ramirez

Another round of talks between U.S. and Chinese officials on a dispute over China's surging textile exports has ended without an agreement.

Chief U.S. negotiator David Spooner issued a brief statement at the end of the talks in Beijing Thursday, saying negotiators did not come to an agreement that meets the needs of U.S. manufacturers and retailers.

It was the fourth round of face-to-face talks the two sides have held on the issue this year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan suggested that the negotiators should persist in their effort to resolve the dispute.

Mr. Kong said that in the process of developing trade relations, it is normal for there to be friction, and he says China hopes the negotiators will take an objective and calm approach.

He offered no details on the areas of disagreement.

At issue is the huge jump in shipments of Chinese-made textiles to the United States, since world textile export quotas expired at the start of this year.

In response to pressure from U.S. textile manufacturers, the United States took unilateral action several months ago, invoking emergency safeguard measures to cap the growth of some Chinese products at seven-point-five percent. Washington now wants Beijing to agree to limit its exports of certain categories of garments.

In his statement, Mr. Spooner said that with the absence of an agreement Thursday, the United States might continue to invoke such measures as it felt appropriate.

China's trade surplus with the United States, which reached $162 billion last year, is high on the agenda of U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, who started a visit to China this week.

Mr. Snow is due to meet with Chinese officials in Beijing next week and press for further adjustment of China's currency. Some U.S. politicians, manufacturers and labor groups accuse the Chinese of keeping their currency - the yuan - artificially undervalued, reducing U.S. competitiveness.

In response to demands by the United States and others, Beijing revalued the yuan by more than two percent in July, and removed its peg to the U.S. dollar. However, Washington says more adjustment is necessary.

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