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US China Textile Talks End Without Agreement


U.S. and Chinese negotiators meeting in Beijing have again failed to reach an agreement to limit surging Chinese textile imports into the United States, despite extending talks into a third day.

The negotiators met for an unscheduled third day of talks in an attempt to find a solution that eluded them earlier in the week. But U.S. special textile negotiator David Spooner later said they were unable to reach a comprehensive agreement on limiting cheap clothing imports from China.

In a statement issued by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Mr. Spooner said that despite the negotiators' "best efforts," the talks again failed.

The two sides had hoped to reach an agreement before Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States next week.

Mr. Spooner's statement said the United States remains optimistic that progress can be made. He said the two sides would consult during the next few days on a date and location for a new round of negotiations.

Charles Martin is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. He says the failure to reach an agreement will not have a big effect on U.S. buyers of Chinese textiles.

"It is just mainly the uncertainty of these companies knowing how much they can source from China versus other places," said Charles Martin. "What is going to be the limit on these categories, so we can go ahead and do our buying for this year, and we will not get caught in a Europe-type situation where our goods are stopped at the ports."

The European Union held similar talks with Beijing this week after tons of Chinese clothing were stopped in European ports for breaching negotiated import limits.

Chinese textile exports rose sharply when worldwide quotas ended on January 1. The European Union reacted by negotiating quotas with the Chinese government, while the United States imposed tighter limits on some textiles.

U.S. textile producers want even tighter restrictions on Chinese imports, which they say threaten American jobs.

Chinese officials say the U.S. manufacturers had years to prepare for the end of the global trade quotas. Beijing argues that the U.S. import limits should be relaxed, and says Americans benefit from the lower Chinese textile prices.

The United States and China have held four rounds of textile trade negotiations this year with no success.

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