Chinese textiles on quota list of Europe

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 February, 1994, 12:00am

IN what would be a major escalation of quotas slapped on certain Chinese products imported into Europe, textiles are now believed to be on the list.

The Trade Department said yesterday it had yet to receive full details of the move by the European Union (EU) to limit imports of the full range of products, but assistant director-general for Europe Maria Kwan said the quotas covered ''certain'' textile goods.

''We would imagine that sensitive textile items would have been covered by the EU's bilateral textiles agreement with China,'' said Ms Kwan.

She said several central and eastern European and Asian countries were hit with import quotas as well.

The Hong Kong Exporters Association disclosed on Tuesday that seven China-made consumer items had been slapped with EU quotas - toys, footwear, gloves, porcelain kitchen and tableware, ceramic kitchen and tableware, glassware and radios.

The ruling, expected to take effect on March 15, is estimated to cost Hong Kong exporters and manufacturers US$68 million annually in lost revenue.

Ms Kwan said the current quota was a result of the merging of the 12 EU countries into a single market.

Ms Kwan said that prior to the single market, each of the 12 had their own quotas for imported goods.

With the EU they were faced with the choice of either liberalising trade or replacing each individual country's quotas with a community quota.

''And the member states chose to have a community quota,'' she said.

She said the community quota was part of an agreement among the 12 member-countries on various issues.

Earlier, Hong Kong Exporters Association chairman Louis K.C. Wong said that of the seven items, three would seriously affect Hong Kong's re-export trade as the territory's exporters had set up their production bases in China.

The import quota, based on 1992 imports for 1994, will see a cutback in toy imports by 21 per cent, footwear by 11.5 per cent, gloves by 6.26 per cent and others at a smaller percentage.