With millions of Chinese-made textile goods piling up in European warehouses and ports, talks on revising a trade pact have continued on Saturday. The garments are stuck because limits on Chinese imports have already been reached.
Hence the ongoing negotiations in Beijing between EU officials and China to try to resolve the situation. In June, China and the EU agreed temporary quotas on 10 categories of Chinese textile exports, following a deluge of low-cost clothes from the country.
However, with most of the new ceilings already reached, high street stores are furious that they cannot now take delivery of the items they bought. “What are we going to do with the goods?” asked Jean-Marc Genis, France’s Executive President of the National Council of Clothing Retailers.
“The goods have been paid for by the companies, because to import from China you have to pay first and then you clear the goods.”
The consumer could also be hit hard.
There are warnings that if a deal is not reached soon, prices could be affected.
Retail expert Alastair Eperon said:
“It will not make a difference to prices in the short-term but in the long-term, if this proves to be a sticky season, then that is obviously going to have an impact and retailers are going to have to recover their profitability from something else and that something else will be next season’s clothes.”
Possible solutions to the problem include using some of next year’s allowance or giving importers the right to bring in goods ordered before the curbs in June.