The US and China have signed a deal resolving their long-running trade dispute over Chinese textile exports. The US trade representative, Rob Portman, said the agreement was fair to both sides. Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said China had hoped for more. It follows a similar deal China signed earlier this year with Europe.
The dispute started in January when Chinese exports surged following the end of a long-running global deal that set strict quotas on textile exports. Under the new agreement, exports of most Chinese clothing and textiles goods to the US will be allowed to rise between 8% and 10% in 2006, by 12.5% in 2007, and by 15% to 16% in 2008. These are an increase on the temporary 7.5% limit the US imposed on China earlier this year under World Trade Organisation safeguard rules to protect domestic industries. Mr Portman said the deal had been achieved through hard work and good faith.
"I believe the textile agreement shows our ability to resolve tough trade disputes in a manner that benefits both countries," he added. While Mr Bo initially called the deal a "win-win" situation, he then appeared to add that he did not think the US had conceded enough.
China had initially sought for the limits to finish at the end of 2007 rather than the agreed 2008. "I know that Mr Portman has shown some flexibility at the end of the day, but I don't think that's enough," said Mr Bo. "That's still a far cry from our original expectations."
The agreement comes ahead of a scheduled visit to Beijing by President George W Bush later this month. Chinese clothing and textile exports to the US rose by more than 50% in the first eight months of this year to almost $17.7bn (Ј10bn), following the expiry of the Multi-Fibre Agreement, reports BBC news. I.L.