US, Chinese talks aim for textile trade deal

China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said on Wednesday he was confident that talks on China's surging textile exports to the United States would end successfully.

Li told a news conference in Estonia during a visit to the Baltics that China, as a member of the World Trade Organization, would follow all its rules conscientiously and that talks this week should end well.

"In regard to textiles ... if there is any difference in interpretation or in practice we are ready to enter into negotiations with the parties concerned on the basis of mutual respect," he said.

U.S and Chinese officials on Tuesday began two days of trade talks that American manufacturing groups hope will lead to limits on Chinese textile imports.

U.S textile manufacturers want a deal to protect an industry battling growing imports from China since a decades-old global quota system expired on January 1, reports Reuters.

According to Forbes, the two delegations broke up in the afternoon but were expected to hold informal contacts over dinner, officials said.

While the US' firm intention is to negotiate a “broad textile agreement”, China has warned that the talks are likely to be hard-fought.

“Compared with the limited products involved in the Sino-EU talks, negotiations between China and the US will be tough,” Sun Huaibin, spokesman for the China National Textile Apparel Council, said Sunday.

China and the EU eased their tensions when they agreed to limit the growth of 10 Chinese textile products to the EU to between 8.5 and 12.5 pct until the end of 2007.

Washington has acted unilaterally in imposing quotas on seven Chinese textile products, and is considering introducing limits on another five.

That has infuriated Beijing, which has also been challenged by the US administration on a range of other trade disputes including currency reform and protection of US goods from counterfeit rivals.

The US textile industry wants a deal that limits Chinese imports in more than 19 categories of apparel to a 7.5 pct growth rate per year until 2008.

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