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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
China anger over EU textile move
Chinese textile worker
Will China's textile trade take over the world market?
A fresh row over China's textile trade is brewing over Europe's response to growing Chinese clothing imports.

A new "early warning system" instituted by Brussels to start an investigation of imports if they breach set levels has provoked Beijing's ire.

The proposal "seriously violated" World Trade Organisation rules, China said.

Fears are growing about China's strength in textiles following the end of quotas after a 30-year agreement was abolished at the beginning of 2005.

Europe's system was in fact intended to avoid inflaming China.

Announced by Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on Wednesday, they fall some way short of those demanded by the EU's textile manufacturers.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson
Mr Mandelson says two months is not enough

The European trade fears it could be swamped in the wake of the demise of the Multi Fibre Agreement.

But Mr Mandelson said that with only two months of data, caution was required.

He will start an investigation if China exceeds permitted increases of between 10% and 100% for various categories of textile imports this year.

China was unhappy, with a Commerce Ministry spokesman warning that the rules would "exert an extremely negative impact not only on the textile trade between China and Europe, but also on global textile trade".

The US has taken a harder line and has begun a probe at the behest of its own clothing industry, who say they have already seen a 1,000% rise in goods from China.

WTO rules allow for countries which say they have suffered "market disruption" from Chinese imports to limit textile import growth to 7.5% a year till 2008.

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