EU Commissioner Announces Agreement On Chinese Textiles

“We have found a satisfactory and equitable solution” says EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson in a
press conference on the Chinese textile issue. In a press conference held in Beijing after the
signature of an agreement between the EU and China to unblock the current textile imports blocked
in the EU borders, the EU Trade Commissioner reminded that the agreement still has to be discussed
among the EU member states and referred to the difficulties risen on implementing the agreement
signed in Shanghai in June: “when member states were pressing me to negotiate I said that there
were difficulties to operate an agreement like this. We have to make sure that the agreement is
managed smoothly and that we listen to all, importers, suppliers, retailers and textile producers.”
The agreement concluded today could mark the end of goods blocked in EU ports. “I hope it will be
possibly quickly to unblock the goods currently at the EU border,” Mandelson said, referring to the
urgency to solve the current situation. On questions about trade war, Mandelson answered that
“textile issues have been out of proportion this summer but it has increased the importance of free
trade, and China and Europe have not, are not and will not be at war. We have common interests and
we want this relationship in the long term” and reminded those asking for protectionist measures
that “the laws of comparative advantage persist even if China is a major economic power”. Mandelson
finally explained that “this is not about the return to quotas of the past, the textile quotas of
the old agreement are not coming back, we are moving to an era were there will be no quotas at all,
but Europe needs two to two and a half years to manage the transition”. The Commission spokesperson
Franse Le Bail earlier announced today that a special meeting of the trade committee (the 133 committee) in the Council would discuss the agreement reached.

Press Release Courtesy of the European Union

September 2005