Hong Kong trade officials yesterday made a last-minute decision to avert a showdown in the World Trade Organisation over the multi-billion dollar textile dispute with the United States. The Textiles Advisory Board recommended a return to the negotiating table in a final bid to make the US lift the tough controls on the territory's exports. But Secretary for Trade and Industry Denise Yue, who is the board chairman, reaffirmed the Government's opposition to US policy as a potential breach of the territory's autonomy. The US has imposed extra documentation requirements on textile and clothes shipped from Hong Kong, alleging huge quantities of falsely labelled goods were evading quota restrictions. The rules, which will take effect from July 17, cover textiles and clothing worth about $3.5 billion, or 9.6 per cent of the territory's textiles and clothing exports. Hong Kong trade officials have refused to allow US officials to make unannounced inspections of Hong Kong factories to confirm there are no illegal transshipments. Legislative councillors earlier this week called on the Government to take the row to the WTO for an independent ruling. Ms Yue said: 'We want to co-operate with the US to enhance our common efforts against illegal transshipment and remain willing to discuss other ways of co-operation in place of joint verification and other unilateral measures that the US has imposed on us. 'We will therefore repeat these points to the US and hope that they can understand our position and agree to further consultations on the basis of such understanding, so that the two sides can come to a mutually acceptable solution. 'We will also tell the US that in view of the increasing adverse impact on our trade as a rules of the US measures, we are anxious to take the next steps to protect our trading interests as soon as possible.' Ms Yue said the Government would resort to the WTO if an acceptable bilateral solution cannot be found to the impasse. 'Unless we have a positive response from the US within a reasonable period of time, we will have no option but to start formal WTO action without any further delay.' The first round of talks between the two sides in Hong Kong ended in stalemate. A failure to reach agreement would result in the second WTO hearing involving both parties. Last September, the WTO Textiles Monitoring Body in Geneva ruled in the territory's favour over the US restraint of territory exports of wool woven shirts and blouses.