Textile quota deadline 'must not be changed'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 September, 1999, 12:00am

China will not agree to the US pushing back the mainland's proposed date for the scrapping of American quotas on imports of Chinese textiles in exchange for World Trade Organisation (WTO) entry, State Councillor Wu Yi told Hong Kong trade delegates yesterday.

China has requested during talks on membership to the trade body that the United States increase its annual quota for mainland textile imports until scrapping the quota system entirely by 2005.

But the US has said 2005 was too early to remove all barriers for textile imports.

Washington wants the quotas to remain at least until 2010.

In a meeting with Hong Kong delegates at the Third International Investment and Trade Fair in Xiamen yesterday, Ms Wu said China would stand firm on the issue.

Ms Wu did not identify other principles that China would insist on in the Sino-US negotiation, nor did she mention if China would reconsider the concessions made by Premier Zhu Rongji in his trip to the US in the new round of talks.

Ms Wu said China's foreign reserves had exceeded US$150 billion (HK$1,161 billion) by August.

She said the mainland's foreign reserves had been struggling to break through the bottleneck of US$150 billion since the regional financial crisis broke two years ago.

Analysts said the strength of the reserve was an encouraging sign for a stable renminbi.

The former minister of foreign trade and co-operation said she also was eager to revive slacking foreign investment.

Ms Wu assured foreign investors that China would adhere to its open-door policy regardless of the political situation.

Ms Wu said China had been improving its infrastructure for foreign investors over the last two decades and would continue to build up its services for investors in the coming years.