Chinese textile imports: is a deal possible?

The European Commission said on Wednesday that it hopes to reach an agreement with China on an alleged surge in Chinese exports of T-shirts and flax yarn by next Tuesday.

The European Union (EU) head office gave the green light to Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to continue informal talks with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng until next Tuesday.

The EU would not launch formal consultations with China on the two categories of textile products if the two sides reached an agreement by that time, said Mandelson's spokesperson Claude Veron-Reville.

She told reporters that she believed a deal was possible beforethe deadline, reports Xinhuanet.

Failure to resolve the dispute would most likely lead to the reintroduction of import quotas on the two products in the first half of June and might hamper efforts to avert a similar confrontation over other textile imports from China.

The move comes amid a debate over a referendum in France on Sunday on the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>European constitution, which has highlighted the proposed constitution's position on free trade.

Imports of Chinese textiles have been prominent in the debate over the constitution. Opponents argue that the sharp rise in Chinese textile imports is a symbol of the perils of globalization, a process they claim is championed by the European Union.

The decision by &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Peter Mandelson, the European trade commissioner, was seen as an attempt to persuade French voters to vote in favor of the constitution.

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