China says it will revoke the textile export tariffs it announced on May 20 in what was then a bid to ease trade tensions caused by rising exports to the United States and the European Union.
Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai told reporters Monday the action is a response to moves by the United States and Europe to impose restrictions on China's textile exports. He said Beijing could not continue to tax products already penalized by the U.S. and EU governments.
Mr. Bo says China cannot allow its textile products to be put under a "second layer of pressure."
China says it will cancel tariffs on 81 categories of textile products that the United States and the European Union have moved to restrict. He challenges Washington and Brussels to prove that rising Chinese imports resulted in market disruption under World Trade Organization rules.
The Chinese action comes ahead of a visit this week by new U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who is expected to focus on the rising U.S. trade deficit with China.
U.S. Embassy officials had no immediate comment following the Chinese government's announcement Monday.
Some U.S. politicians and labor groups have voiced strong concerns about Chinese clothing imports, which have risen dramatically since world textile quotas were eliminated on January 1. With these concerns in mind, Washington imposed quotas on Chinese-made trousers, shirts, underwear and other items in mid-May. On Friday, EU officials requested talks with China to discuss the rising flow of textiles.
China had sought to ease concerns by imposing modest export tariffs in January, and then announcing more tariffs on May 20. However, many analysts say the tariffs were too small to significantly curb shipments.