Friday, August 19, 2005

EU's Chinese clothing quota not thought out too well.

EU: It seemed like a good idea at the time, just no one thought of the retailers who already ordered in advance.

Barred Chinese clothing shipments are piling up at European ports, prompting warnings of retail stock shortages and higher store prices just weeks after the EU moved to stem an import surge deemed a threat to jobs. Amid concern that the European import quotas are doing more economic harm than good, Brussels is facing growing calls for their relaxation, even from France - one of the strongest supporters of the original textiles clampdown. Unless the Chinese quotas are loosened, retailers are warning, consumers could end up paying more this autumn for clothes hastily sourced from elsewhere - as well as enjoying less choice. ....Earlier this month, Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson won backing from EU states to increase the 2005 quotas for pullovers as stranded shipments mounted, and Krietemeyer said possible quota relaxation for other garments would be discussed at a meeting of trade officials next week. "We know the situation is very serious for the importers and we're trying to help them," Krietemeyer said. But importers also bear some responsibility for the chaos, he added. "The retailers knew about the quotas but ... they continued to order articles from China without any licenses." The CNSH French clothing retailers' association - which represents retailers including Etam and Kookai - blamed the EU for the disruption. Retailers had built the long-agreed liberalization of Chinese textile imports into their sourcing plans, said CNSH Executive President Jean-Marc Genis. "Companies went to China to buy more goods, then all the rules changed. The orders had been placed and paid for last year."

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