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China lashes out at US decision to limit sock imports(27/10/04)

China on Tuesday lashed out a US decision to limit imports of socks made in China, saying China will "retain the right to take further actions" within the World Trade Organization framework, according to a Ministry of Commerce spokesman.

The US Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, an interagency group chaired by the US Department of Commerce, said in a statement issued on Monday that the United States will impose a quota on imports of Chinese socks to limit growth of the country's market share.

Such Chinese goods have "disrupted" the US market, and "there is a threat of further disruption due to imports from China," the statement said.

The quota will be imposed following US government talks with China on the issue. If the talks fail to reach an agreement, the quota will last for one year.

The Chinese government holds that Chinese exports of socks "have not disrupted the US market," and the US industry's appeal for the limit does not meet the minimum condition stipulated by WTO rules, said Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan.

The United States will further limit imports of Chinese cotton socks, which have been restricted by import quota, citing the "threat of further disruption," he said.

Such an action violates conditions delineated in the legal documents for China's WTO admission and US domestic rules on the procedure, Chong said.

The move also runs counter to WTO's principle of free trade and free textile trade, he said.

This will severely frustrate Chinese companies' and people's confidence in the international trade environment after its WTO accession and sabotage the multilateral trade system, Chong said.

"China retains the right to take further actions under the framework of WTO," Chong said.

Sino-US fabric industries are highly complementary, and the Chinese government has been striving to promote communication and cooperation between them, Chong said.

"The Chinese government urges the US government to handle such cases cautiously and to amend its errors so as to avoid casting a cloud over Sino-US trade and economic ties," he said.

Sino-US trade hit 126 billion US dollars in 2003. Chinese exports to the US market recorded 92 billion US dollars, with 7 billion US dollars of that made up of fabric products.


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