There were conflicting signals from Beijing as EU leaders tried to thrash out a deal with their Chinese counterparts on a trade row over textiles.
The European delegation includes British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, and EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. China’s Commerce Minister said no agreement had yet been signed. Earlier an EU official indicated an accord had been struck. While negotiations were expected to be difficult, both sides expressed confidence that the dispute can be resolved. The row centres on rules introduced in January to allow more Chinese textiles into Europe. They were revised in June after Chinese products flooded European markets. But goods have been piling up in ports across the EU because quotas agreed by Beijing and Brussels have been filled.