EU asks Europe to unblock Chinese textile at borders

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson urged European governments on Thursday to unblock some 75 million garments held up at EU borders after Chinese textile imports broke through 2005 quota limits.

"I maintain my insistence that goods held at the border must be unblocked and I hope member states will accept this and I expect them to do so," he was quoted as saying by the AP.

The European Union executive office needs a majority vote from the trade bloc's 25 nations to raise import limits.

Mandelson said he thought it would be possible for them to agree during talks later Thursday and on Friday, adding that he was encouraged by the discussions he has had with European governments in recent days. "I hope I have persuaded them."

He did not give details of his proposal, saying there were a number of different ways forward.

The EU trade chief said the overwhelming bulk of the goods held up were ordered before a June agreement between the EU and the China came into force.

"I believe on that basis we can't keep these goods blocked indefinitely," he said.

Chinese textile shipments soared after a worldwide quota system expired on Jan. 1. The EU negotiated new limits with China in June but the monthlong delay before the restrictions came into effect meant many importers placed huge orders in an attempt to get quota-free goods into Europe ahead of the deadline.

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