Friday, May 20, 2005

China Bows - Raises Taxes on Textile Exports Top Worldwide: "China will raise export tariffs on textiles, seeking to avoid U.S. government and European Union limits on shipments of Chinese shirts, trousers and underwear.

China's textile exporters will have to pay a tax of as much as 4 yuan (48 U.S. cents) per item to sell their goods abroad, up from a maximum of 0.3 yuan, the finance ministry said today on its Web site. The new duties, imposed on 74 product types from June 1, are five times higher than previous taxes for most items.
``It's a gesture of goodwill from China,'' said Qu Hongbin, an economist at HSBC Plc in Hong Kong. ``Everything is symbolic because China's exports are very competitive.''

China's plan to raise tariffs ``means that in this little round of arm wrestling that pits the Americans and the Europeans against the Chinese, the Chinese have decided to slow their exports of textile products,'' said Pascal Lamy, nominated on May 13 to be the World Trade Organization's next chief. ``The bottom line is that the Chinese are slowing their exports to avoid the Americans and Europeans slowing their imports,'' the Frenchman said in an interview on the French radio station Europe 1.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, said the changes are unlikely to have much effect on its business.

``We did not significantly increase imports from China when the quotas were eliminated,'' Xu Jun, a Wal-Mart spokesman in Beijing. ``Consequently, the re-imposition of tariffs on certain types of apparel will have relatively minimal impact on our business.''

Higher export duties will probably mean European consumers will have to pay more for Chinese garments, said Ralph Kamphoener, a trade adviser at Brussels-based Eurocommerce, which represents 5.3 million retailers.

``An increase in the tax would, of course, have an effect to the detriment of consumers in Europe,'' he said, adding that the EU should consider ``the benefits of trade liberalization for the consumer.'' "

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