A European industry group has asked that formal curbs be imposed on Chinese textile imports.
But the European Commission says it does not have enough trade data to act on the request.
Concerns are on the rise about a possible surge in cheap clothing from China following the end of a decades-old global quotas regime.
The system ended on Jan. 1.
A spokeswoman in Brussels said safeguard measures could be launched in two ways, either by a member state’s request or of the Commission’s own initiative. The move by EURATEX, an association representing firms across the 25-nation EU, would not do it.
World Trade Organisation member countries can invoke “safeguard measures” against Chinese textiles (it joined the WTO in 2001);
They can cap imports at 7.5 percent above the level of the previous year but need to prove their domestic firms are really suffering.
The WTO projects that China could have half the entire world’s market share in textiles and clothing within three years, which would be potentially damaging to EU industry and developing countries.