ECONOMY

Turkish textile group asks EU for measures against Chinese imports

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish textile and clothing producers asked the European Commission yesterday to quickly set limits on Chinese textile imports. «The first wave of Chinese exports to the European market has reached unexpected proportions that show the European Commission… must urgently apply safeguard clauses before all (sector) activity and employment in the Europe-Mediterranean zone is wiped out,» the Anatolia press agency quoted the producers’ faxed request as saying. Turkey is the second-biggest textile supplier to the European Union, after China, and the sector represents 32 percent of all Turkish exports, or a total value of about $15 billion in 2003. Turkey and the EU signed a customs union that covered textiles in 1996. The faxed request, which was signed by several Turkish textile groups, asked the EU to ensure that China «respects the rules of fair trade,» saying that the «least developed and developing countries have already seen their market share drop.» The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, expects to decide on Monday whether to launch an investigation into surging Chinese textile imports, the first step toward applying so-called safeguards allowed under World Trade Organization rules. On Tuesday however, China bluntly warned the EU that slapping limits on Chinese textile imports could harm relations between Brussels and Beijing.