ECONOMY

Chinese imports surge in January

January 2005 saw a sharp rise in imports of apparel and textile products from China to Greece and the EU as a whole, according to data by the Hellenic Fashion Industries Association (SEPEE). Chinese apparel imports into Greece in that month rose by 42 percent year-on-year to a total value of $5.66 million, against $3.99 million in January 2004. For textiles the rise was a sharper 76.7 percent to $12.09 million, from $6.84 million a year earlier. Chinese apparel imports into the EU rose by 50.7 percent in January 2005 to $977 million. Textile imports rose 38.2 percent to total $452 million. This is the picture emerging through real imports data and not just import applications. Interestingly, the increase for the old 15 EU members was 91.2 percent for apparel imports and 44.5 percent for textiles from China. Taking into account data on import applications submitted for both product groups in the January-February 2005 period, the European Apparel and Textile Organization (EURATEX) on March 10 submitted an official request to the European Commission for protective measures in 12 apparel-textile product categories seriously hurt by the Chinese imports. The Commission is expected to decide whether the data filed presents a threat sufficient to justify protective measures.