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Sock Import Quotas Extended

November 03, 2005|From Bloomberg News

The U.S. and China have agreed that the Bush administration should extend quotas on sock imports from China until the end of the year while the two sides searched for an overall accord to guide textile trade.

After a summit of negotiators in Washington this week, the U.S. trade representative's office said Wednesday that it had agreed with China to extend its "safeguard" on sock imports instead of imposing a new 12-month quota.

"It would simply be unfair to our sock producers if -- in the midst of those negotiations -- we permitted a safeguard to lapse," said David Spooner, the special textile negotiator for the U.S. Chinese negotiators didn't release a statement.

The U.S. completed its fifth round of talks with the Chinese on Wednesday as it sought to reach an agreement that would cover all Chinese clothing and textile exports to the U.S. over the next three years. Spooner said the two sides made "substantial progress" in this week's talks; he didn't provide details.

Textiles have been an irritant in the trading relationship between the U.S. and China, worth $231 billion. U.S. lawmakers, manufacturers and unions are pressing for a crackdown on what they say are China's unfair practices, such as undervaluing its currency, providing cheap loans to companies and cutting taxes for domestic producers.

A year ago, the U.S. capped sock imports from China at 42 million pairs. Without the agreement Wednesday, that cap would have risen to 61 million pairs over the next year, Spooner said.

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