Chirac joins attack on Chinese textile imports

26th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 26 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called Tuesday for measures to control a flood of Chinese textile exports to the European Union and said the EU had to stand united in the face of globalization.

PARIS, April 26 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called Tuesday for measures to control a flood of Chinese textile exports to the European Union and said the EU had to stand united in the face of globalization.  

"I hope we can find a way to control this phenomenon so that it doesn't have a major impact on employment in France," Chirac said during a press conference with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.  

He said a recent surge in the arrival of Chinese textile goods on European markets, which followed the end of a global quota system on January 1, "is further evidence of our need to unite to take a common stand in the face of globalization."  

The remark was seen as a reference to the proposed constitution for the European Union, which French voters - according to recent polls - could well reject in a referendum May 29.  

"We cannot allow the textiles in question, which have greatly lowered prices in the recent period, to flood our markets without rules."  

Chirac noted that France and 12 other EU members had asked the EU executive commission to implement safeguard measures to protect the European textile industry that have been authorized by the World Trade Organization.  

France in addition is pressing the commission to apply emergency procedures that could speed up the imposition of curbs on Chinese textile imports.  

Schroeder backed Chirac's call for action, insisting that "we have to find a solution" and said the current crisis with China attested to the importance of a "yes" vote on the European constitution.  

"If a country that is hit hard were alone, it would be much more difficult to defend itself than if it acted in concert with other countries."  

Offering a more critical view was the former EU competition commissioner, Mario Monti, who told a radio interviewer here that EU member states should have better prepared themselves for the end of the textile quota regime and have no cause to accuse to the commission of inaction now.  

"Most of the steps to be taken when you know you have 10 years to prepare for a readjustment were at the national level," he argued.   "Therefore you can't complain about Europe when you realize that some of these steps were not taken."   

The application of quantitative quotas on textiles was part of the 1974 Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) that was ultimately deemed by the WTO to be in violation of fair trade principles.  

As a result, it was replaced in 1994 by a WTO agreement that established a 10-year transitional mechanism governing textile trade that expired last January 1.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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