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Washington Outlook Archive

European Manufacturers Seek Import Relief

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

European textile and apparel manufacturers have joined the chorus of demands that Chinese imports be restricted. Citing a dramatic growth of imports that has made China Europe's number-one overseas supplier of textiles and apparel, Filiep Libeert, president of the European textile association EUTATEX, called for using safeguards measures and other actions to reduce the impact of Chinese imports on European markets. He charged that China is using a variety of subsidies and trade barriers that have resulted in Chinese imports 29 times larger than European exports to China. Saying this is complete nonsense, he specifically cited China's artificial manipulation of what he called its vastly undervalued currency and major purchases of textile machinery that could not be accomplished by private financing.

He warned that European manufacturers face a stark challenge either to take whatever steps are appropriate to persuade the Chinese to limit their appetite for the European Union market or face the heavy responsibility of further factory closures. Libeert's comments sound remarkably similar to the arguments US textile manufacturers are making as they seek relief from surging Chinese imports.

January 2004