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Washington Outlook Archive

China Plans To Impose Export Duties On Textiles

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

In an apparent effort to head off mandatory unilateral import quotas and other trade sanctions, the Chinese government has announced plans to levy an export tax on its shipments of textiles and apparel to the United States and other countries. The government did not specify the amount of the duties, which will take effect after January I, when virtually all import quotas on textiles and apparel are due to expire. The action reflects China's concern over the U.S. government's use of safeguard mechanism to impose new quotas or take anti-dumping ard countertervailing duty actions. The announcement was viewed with skepticism by textile interests in Washington. They do not believe the duties would be large enough to offset what they say is a 30 to 40 percent price advantage China enjoys over other nations. They say it might just be a ploy to discourage use of the safeguard mechanism against Chinese imports, which disrupt or threaten to disrupt the US market. The interagency Committee for the Implemention of Textile Agreements currently is evaluating safeguard petitions seeking new quotas on bras, dressing gowns and robes, trousers, shirts, underwear and other products. Domestic textile interests have filed the petitions because they fear China will have free reign to take over more and more markets in a quota-free world. Importers, on the other hand, are strongly opposed to the use of the safeguard mechanism as they see it as an illegal and counterproductive effort to reimpose quotas that limit their flexibility in sourcing products.

December 2004