- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BEIJING (Reuters) — U.S. and Chinese negotiators failed yesterday to reach a comprehensive agreement to stem China’s surging exports of low-cost clothing to the United States, U.S. industry officials said.

Negotiators had hoped to strike a deal to be considered by China President Hu Jintao and President Bush when they meet at the White House next Wednesday.

However, the U.S. side, which had been scheduled to head home today, said the talks would go into a third day.

But Cass Johnson, president of the U.S. National Council of Textile Organizations, said that negotiators had not even narrowed their differences during two days of talks.

Mr. Johnson, one of a number of U.S. industry lobbyists who have been tracking the talks in Beijing, said U.S. textile makers would respond to the failure of the talks by seeking to expand restrictions on Chinese garment exports.

“People thought there was a good chance of an agreement coming out of these meetings, but it’s clear the Chinese government was not interested in moving off its position — and neither was the U.S. government,” Mr. Johnson said.

John Stubbs, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington, said the United States and China could still announce a limited agreement.

U.S. and Chinese officials have now met four times since Washington imposed emergency curbs, known as safeguards, in May to restrain a burst of Chinese exports that was unleashed by the abolition of global textile quotas on Jan. 1.

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