Following from their 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in managing the transition to free trade in textiles, the European Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade have decided on a system of joint import surveillance that will operate for one year in 2008 following the end of the import growth caps on ten categories of textiles and clothing from China. The ‘double checking system’ will track the issuing of licences for export in China and the importation of goods into the EU. This monitoring system provides a clear picture of the likely development of trade patterns and ensures predictability for EU businesses. The arrangement covers the eight most sensitive of the ten product categories covered by the levels agreed in 2005 and that will expire at the end of the year. Although imports of these goods will be closely monitored their level of import will not be restricted by this arrangement.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: “I welcome this further step in the cooperation between the EU and China in ensuring a smooth transition to free trade in textiles. A system of joint monitoring means predictability for EU producers and traders as well as a clear picture of future developments as we make the final step to free global trade in textiles and clothing”.
The product categories subject to double-checking will be categories 4 (T-shirts), 5 (pullovers), 6 (men’s trousers), 7 (blouses), 26 (dresses), 31 (bras), 20 (bed linen) and 115 (flax yarn). The system will be formally adopted by the European Commission in the days ahead. It will be administered by EU Member State licensing offices.