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New EU Trade Rules Could Hit Chinese Textiles

By Agence France-Presse The European Commission on Oct. 20 proposed a new set of EU trade priorities aimed at targeting developing countries most in need, at the expense notably of Chinese textiles. Outgoing EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said that the new EU trade preferences for 2006-2008 would create "a clearer, more transparent and more predictable" system for the European Union's trading partners. The new Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) would, for example, deprive China, which provided over 30% of the EU's imported textiles in 2002, of its current right to pay only a 3% tariff, against the usual 12%. "The EU is already the world's largest provider of trade preferences in favor of developing countries -- enabling us to import more than all other major developed countries put together," said Lamy. "But we want to do even better, by focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries who most need trade preferences to access the EU market," he added. Lamy, who stands down as EU trade chief at the end of October, has sought to reassure textile-exporting developing countries that fear the end of EU textile import quotas in 2005 will open the floodgates to China. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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