Blog: Leonie BarrieCautious approach pays off

Leonie Barrie | 14 June 2005

EU trade commissioned Peter Mandelson believes the deal struck to stem textile exports from China to the EU proves that a more conciliatory approach “does not provoke a protectionist backlash by European industry and the general public.” Is this a thinly-veiled dig at the US, which has chosen to act first and talk later by already introducing import quotas to curb its own rise in Chinese textile imports?

Mandelson’s cautious approach – although criticised by European textile trade groups – has at least protected Europe's long-term relationship with China, which was worth around €174 billion in 2004. It also recognises China’s growing role in the global economy, with Mandelson conceding that “China is entitled to reap the comparative advantages and its WTO accession.” For our industry, though, the measures add a welcome degree of certainty. Buyers had undoubtedly been stalling over the ambiguity of EU measures regarding China, and will now be a lot more confident about their future plans. Well, at least until 2008 when the free-for-all begins again.

CHINA: Reaches Textiles Deal With EU


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