U.S.-China Talks End Without Deal on Clothing, Textile Limits

From Associated Press

The United States and China have failed to reach agreement on a deal to limit a flood of Chinese clothing and textiles coming into the United States. Negotiators said Thursday that the talks would resume next month.

The U.S. side said progress in narrowing the differences had been made in this week’s talks that lasted from Monday through Wednesday night, a day longer than scheduled.

But David Spooner, the administration’s chief textile negotiator, said the United States was still prepared to end the discussions without an agreement.

“The United States will have no hesitation in walking away from a bad deal,” Spooner said.


Both sides planned to meet again in October, but an exact time and location had not yet been set. The first round of discussions took place in August in San Francisco, followed by a round of talks in Beijing and then this week’s discussions in Washington.

“Our preference is to seek a longer-term solution that will permit the orderly development of textile and apparel trade,” Spooner said.

He said this week’s talks made progress, “particularly with regard to product coverage and quota levels.”

American manufacturers said China must make better offers in terms of how many products will be covered and the length of the agreement. The industry wants the limits to remain in effect through 2008.


“For the first time, China began to negotiate constructively, but it still has a significant way to go before we can reach a deal that the industry can support,” said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

The talks are aimed at limiting Chinese clothing and textile imports that have been flooding the country after global quotas were lifted in January.

The industry has won rulings from the Bush administration to impose limits, known as safeguards, in various categories of clothing but would prefer a comprehensive deal covering all categories of clothing that have seen production disrupted by the surge in Chinese products.