Will it be a bare back-to-school?

10th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 10 (AFP) - The head of a group representing major French clothes stores said Wednesday that supply problems caused by quotas on Chinese textiles could lead to bare shelves when students head back to school next month.

PARIS, Aug 10 (AFP) - The head of a group representing major French clothes stores said Wednesday that supply problems caused by quotas on Chinese textiles could lead to bare shelves when students head back to school next month.

"With the arrival of quotas on June 21, we find ourselves in an embarrassing situation. The merchandise is paid for, delivered, and fitted with our labels, but they are still awaiting customs clearance," said Lucien Odier, whose organisation, CNSH, represents chain stores such as Benetton and Zara.

"We are very annoyed, it's a catastrophe for our shops," he added.

Odier warned that, unless the restrictions were lifted to unblock trapped merchandise, some shops would have difficulty stocking shelves with pullovers and trousers at the end of school holidays in September.

Problems are most acute for sweaters and trousers sourced from China, which were ordered eight to 10 months ago "before there were quota restrictions", he said.

The 25-nation European Union and China headed off a trade war last June when EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and his Chinese counterpart Bo Xilai agreed to limit the growth of 10 Chinese textile product categories to the EU to between 8.5 to 12.5 percent until the end of 2007.

Odier suggested greater flexibility as a solution to retailers' problems, which have also been documented in Britain and Germany.

"We need to be able to take a part of the quotas for 2006 which would enable us to free up our merchandise," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, China, textiles, quotas, school clothes

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