There is no question of any diplomatic break or any sort of trade war between Europe and China, Brussels insists, over a surge in Chinese exports of textiles and clothing.
The results of an investigation should be revealed by June.
It could open the way for limits to be placed on shipments from China within 150 days.
Imports of pullovers and men’s trousers leapt by more than 400 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2004, after a global quota regime ended on January 1.
European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has vowed not to be rushed into any decisions in the dispute, and said he would keep the dialogue with Beijing going.
But after talks with his Chinese counterpart he gave no sign that a compromise was any closer.
France, Italy, Greece and Spain want emergency action taken.
For its part, Beijing has promised Europe that its own tax and tariff steps will put the brakes on textile exports by the summer.