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China Says EU Trade Deal is Model US Should Follow


China says a last-minute trade deal with the European Union over rising Chinese textile exports sets an example that the United States should follow. The European Union and China agreed early Saturday to allow a slow rise in China's textile exports to EU nations, and eventually to eliminate restrictions by 2008.

China's state media praised the trade deal and suggested that a similar textile dispute with the United States should be solved the same way.

Negotiations on Friday between the European Union and China lasted 10 hours. Both sides praised the settlement, saying it will create a more stable and predictable environment for trade relations.

The agreement limits the growth of certain Chinese textile exports to around ten percent a year for the next three years. If a deal had not been reached, Brussels was threatening to impose emergency quotas on dramatic increases of textile imports from China.

Peter Mandelson (l) and Bo Xilai
At a news conference Friday after the meeting in Shanghai, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the arrangement is comprehensive and fair.

"This agreement is a win, win, win agreement," Mr. Mandelson said. "It is one that everyone who cares about free trade, cares about stability and cares about people who are affected by changing trade flows, as well as people who care about the long-term relationship between Europe and China will applaud today."

But Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai used the occasion not only to praise the agreement with the European Union, but also to issue a veiled criticism at the United States for not reaching a similar deal with China.

"The European Union, unlike some countries, did not drastically take unilateral action," said Bo Xilai. "But rather always strived for bilateral consultation to friendly and properly resolve our bilateral trade relations."

The United States imposed emergency quotas on certain Chinese textiles after imports rose sharply with the ending of global quotas on January 1. Last week China retaliated by eliminating export taxes on its textile goods.

China says the United States is not acting within the principles of fair trade and that restricting imports from China could affect the jobs of 400,000 Chinese workers.

China says the textile industry in the United States has had a long time to prepare for the rise in Chinese competition. But the United States says it wants to give its textile industry more time to adjust.

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