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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
US 'hoping for China trade deal'
Chinese woman arranges a clothing display
Cheaper Chinese clothes have been flooding Western markets
The US hopes to agree a long-term deal on textile trade with China during talks next week, the US trade representative's office has said.

Chinese clothing imports are currently limited under special World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules amid claims they are damaging US textile trade.

US manufacturers have been demanding measures to protect them when the current special limits end in 2008.

US figures show Chinese textile imports to the US have surged 54% year-on-year.

Imports grew to $5.6bn during the first three months of the year.

The National Council of Textile Organisations have been calling on the government to take action for a lasting solution to the current deadlock.

"We heard unambiguous calls for a more comprehensive approach to textile trade with China," chief US textile trade negotiator David Spooner said.

Mr Spooner pledged to "seek a long-time solution" to the row at consultations next week - part of WTO rules covering the current "safeground" limits on Chinese imports to the US.

Imports 'threat'

Clothing imports into the US have surged since worldwide quotas were abolished at the beginning of this year.

Since then the US has been investigating the trade and has re-imposed quotas on three categories of Chinese textile imports, arguing that thousands of US jobs are at risk.

Under the rules of the World Trade Organisation, countries have the right to act if it is determined that serious market disruption has taken place.

The European Union (EU) has been hit by similar problems, but an all-out trade war was avoided as the pair agreed limits on Chinese exports in June.

However, China breached those quotas a month later, prompting Brussels to block imports of Chinese-made sweaters.

Meanwhile, late last month China revalued its currency - a move which saw it pegged to a number of currencies rather than just the dollar.

The measure was welcomed by critics which had argued a cheap yuan had helped boost Chinese exports.

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