China has made a significant trade gesture to stay in its biggest customers’ good books. The day after it ruled out limiting shipments, Beijing has voluntarily increased taxes on its textile and garment exports.
Raising tariffs on the outgoing cargo goes some way to solving what has become a political problem in Europe and beyond. The European Union struck a cautious note, the Commission saying it would seek details of the move with China’s textile negotiator Gao Hucheng next week, when he is due to meet European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson in Brussels.
Chinese media made the development a headline item. The ministry of finance said the higher tariffs would apply to 74 textile lines starting on June 1.
From one of the EU countries whose own textile sector felt most threatened by the surge of clothes imports from China, France’s Industry Minister Patrick Devedjian called it a step in the right direction:
“There are other things which could help: a voluntary holding back, anti-counterfeit measures against counterfeit products, the exchange rate of the yuan… there are lots of factors but this one is very encouraging.”
Devedjian had earlier described the impact on Europe of the surge in exports in the first quarter as devastating.
The Americans called it a constructive approach.
Quotas for global textile trade were abolished at the beginning of the year.