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China Protests US Textile Quotas - 2003-11-20

China is voicing anger over a decision by the United States this week to limit imports of some Chinese textile products.

An editorial Thursday in a government run newspaper criticized the United States for imposing caps on the imports of Chinese-made knit fabrics and other types of clothing.

It accused the Bush administration of imposing the quotas to score political points among voters ahead of next year's presidential elections.

China's anger was further demonstrated Thursday when Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao confirmed that Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong called U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt to a meeting to protest the quotas.

Mr. Liu says Vice Minister Zhou expressed to the U.S. ambassador that the Chinese government is shocked at the decision, which he said was made despite strong opposition from China.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman says China reserves the right to take action in response to the U.S. decision, but did not elaborate.

The United States announced the quotas on Tuesday.

Many political analysts say the move is an attempt by the Bush administration to address voter concerns about the loss of U.S. jobs in the face of a $103 billion trade deficit with China.

China on Thursday confirmed that it has postponed a trip by a trade delegation. The delegation was to go to the United States to purchase agricultural products.

The delegation's trip was to be the second this month and is part of a Chinese effort to demonstrate a willingness to defuse trade tensions.

Chinese officials said the delegation's trip was delayed due to logistical reasons.