European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy announced a roundtable discussion will be held with representatives of the European Apparel and Textile Organization (Euratex) regarding improved access to third-country markets.Talks will include initiatives and options to improve access to third-party countries, through reductions of tariffs and or the elimination of non-tariff barriers compatible with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).The commission’s research study reports that the EU’s textile and clothing market has been open to imports; however, significant trade barriers prevent EU industry from expanding abroad. European industry has consistently argued for the need to achieve reciprocity in market access.Commission spokesman Peter Guilford commented that the commission had for many years been seeking to persuade major textile exporting countries outside the EU to open their markets further if they wanted the EU to reduce their trade barriers further. Guilford added that many of the non-EU textile exporting countries are “economically, financially capable of buying some of our high-quality textiles.” Main textile exporting countries and regions include India, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.Euratex claims that while the EU has met all its commitments in the WTO Agreement on Textile and Clothing (ATC), the markets of most of the largest exporting countries still remain closed or sheltered to European products.

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