EU-China textile talks continue as summit begins

The European Union and Chinese trade talks stretched into a second day Monday with no sign of an imminent agreement on a dispute over curbing China's textile shipments.

At midday, the talks were "inconclusive," a Chinese Commerce Ministry official told reporters outside the closed-door talks. She didn't give her name.

The negotiations center on unblocking 75 million pieces of Chinese-made clothing stranded at European ports for exceeding quota limits.

China's textile shipments have surged since the end of global quotas on Jan. 1, prompting the EU and the United States to limit imports in order to protect their manufacturers, reports Business Week.

According to Financial Times, a spokesman for Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, said early Monday morning that the two sides were "in the same place" after long talks on textile quotas.

"This will lead to the unblocking of goods held at borders, but there are important aspects still to be resolved and discussions are continuing at an expert level," he said.

He added that the two sides had agreed earlier in the day on a set of principles to settle the dispute.

"It is about burden sharing," said an EU official.

In June the EU and China agreed on increases in exports of about 10-12 per cent for 10 categories of Chinese clothing. Nearly all those quotas for this year have now been filled, prompting EU customs officers to impound clothing exceeding the quotas.

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