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EU-China clothes deal ready for seal

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EU-China clothes deal ready for seal

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Europe’s deal with China on getting around clothes import quotas is said to be poised to get the go-ahead from the required majority of the 25 member states, according to Brussels.

Formal approval is expected this Wednesday. Releasing the goods blocked in EU ports could start next week or perhaps even sooner. Some evidence indicates movement is beginning already. The clothing imports began to pile up in July after quota levels agreed in June were reached. Clothing shortages and higher prices for consumers became immediate concerns. Countries with big retail sectors piled on pressure to let the merchandise in. The European Commission had to overcome opposition from EU textile producing states daunted by the Chinese competition. The deal was struck by Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, accompanied by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others, in Beijing on Monday. Half the excess goods will be deducted from China’s quota for exports to the EU in 2006. The rest will be added to its 2005 quota.