Chinese commerce minister defends rise in textile exports as country's "legitimate right"

China's commerce minister defended a huge rise in his country's textile exports, saying China had adequately compensated by opening up its domestic market.

Surging exports of Chinese-made textiles are "the legitimate right China is entitled to... after it made a very significant compromise relating to its opening of the domestic market in order to join the World Trade Organization," Bo Xilai told the Associated Press.

Concerns of a new trade war rose earlier this week when China on Monday dropped plans to sharply increase export duties on its textiles.

The turnaround followed new import controls imposed by Washington and the European Union, who argued their markets were disrupted by the surge in Chinese clothing and textile imports.

Global integration of textile trade "is a very important symbol of trade liberalization," said Bo. "Therefore, I believe, every country in the world must respect this very important direction of trade liberalization."

Bo was speaking at a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum trade officials on the South Korean island of Jeju. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman also planned to take part in part in the meeting, and aids were seeking to arrange a breakfast meeting them on Friday, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Seoul said, speaking on routine condition of anonymity.

Beijing had announced last week that it would quintuple export tariffs on 74 types of goods on June 1, trying to persuade its trading partners not to restrict textile imports that have soared since quotas were scrapped at the end of last year.

The government didn't give a reason for revoking the increases but cited U.S. and European steps to restrict imports of Chinese clothing and textiles - measures that Beijing has criticized as unfair.

BO-MI LIM, Associated Press Writer

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