EU curb on Chinese textiles 'insufficient': Chirac

19th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

NANCY, France, May 19 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that EU emergency measures to curb an influx of Chinese textiles were significant but "not sufficient".

NANCY, France, May 19 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that EU emergency measures to curb an influx of Chinese textiles were significant but "not sufficient".  

"We have a real problem in Europe," Chirac told a joint press conference after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski in the eastern French city of Nancy.  

"The considerable increase in Chinese textile exports to our countries calls into question the jobs of thousands of workers. We cannot accept this without doing anything," the French leader told reporters.  

He said EU threats to restrict imports of flax yarn and T-shirts from China were "significant but not sufficient".  

Chirac said: "We hope that we can quickly reach an agreement that will protect our legitimate interests.  

"We cannot accept a death blow to the jobs of a significant number of workers in our countries," he warned.  

According to an opinion poll released Thursday, an overwhelming 86 percent of French people fear the impact of Chinese textile imports on the French job market, while only nine percent saw their potential benefits to consumers.  

France's stubborn 10.2 percent unemployment rate is one of the factors contributing to general public displeasure with Chirac's government, which has authorities worried 10 days before a referendum on the EU constitution.  

In Brussels, the European Union's executive arm warned Thursday that it could extend emergency measures to curb a surge in Chinese textile imports beyond flax yarn and T-shirts if necessary.  

The European Commission, which this week demanded urgent talks with the Chinese on the two textile types, also said it would be "disappointed" if Chinese authorities failed to rein in exports voluntarily.  

"If the Chinese authorities did not show moderation, it is perfectly possible that we would proceed on other categories," said commission spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail.  

The 25-nation EU has joined the United States in increasing pressure on China to rein in its exports to protect their own textile industries following the end of international textile trade quotas on January 1.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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