Chirac wants solution for surging Chinese imports within WTO

MOSCOW (Reuters) – French President Jacques Chirac told Chinese President Hu Jintao he hoped a row over Beijing’s textile exports would be resolved within the framework of WTO rules, Chirac’s spokesman said yesterday. Several European nations, including France, want emergency action to curb the boom in cheap imports and the EU’s executive commission has begun an investigation into the surge in imports of nine Chinese textile and clothing products to the EU. «The president of the republic underlined that for France it is an extremely serious problem,» Chirac’s spokesman Jerome Bonnafont said after Chirac met Hu during commemorations of the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. «He indicated that the dialogue between the European Union and the Chinese government on the one hand, and the contacts established with the French authorities on the other, should lead to a solution being found in the framework of the rules of the World Trade Organization,» he added. The Commission is investigating nine categories of Chinese textile exports and has said it will speed up action in areas where the situation is considered «more critical.» If Brussels decides there has been serious market disruption, it can evoke the WTO’s «safeguard clause,» which allows member states to restrict imports of textiles if a sudden surge threatens to upset their markets. Chirac and the Chinese president also touched on a range of other topics, including the European embargo on arms sales to China and Taiwan, the spokesman said.