EC-China textile ‘circus’

Two high­ly expe­ri­enced ana­lysts nail the prob­lem with the pos­si­ble EC-Chi­na agree­ment on the ‘tem­po­rary’ quo­tas imposed by the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties on com­pet­i­tive gar­ment imports. The non­sense about ‘tem­po­rary’ quo­tas and indus­try adjust­ment that nev­er takes place has been going on for forty years.

Joe Fran­cois and Dean Spinanger point out that we should all be wor­ried about the pol­i­cy regres­sion tak­ing place this week in Brus­sels as the Com­mis­sion attempts to bolt-down a new set of import restrictions. 

This cri­sis resem­bles a cir­cus. Forces are at work try­ing to fleece the pub­lic while dis­tract­ing it from what is hap­pen­ing to the con­tents of its col­lec­tive wal­let.”(Finan­cial Times)

A deal will threat­en every oth­er tex­tile and gar­ment exporter that is a com­pet­i­tive sup­pli­er to Europe. Peter Mandelson’s assur­ances about “sen­si­ble, rea­son­able, bur­den-shar­ing” beg­gar belief. After decades of this non­sense, no-one should be fooled by this men­dac­i­ty. Fran­cois and Spin­nanger note:

… We have good rea­son to wor­ry about the scram­ble for quo­tas. We should not be reas­sured by a sec­ond EU-Chi­na agree­ment in three months. Con­sumers should also be wor­ried, as the return to quo­tas means the EU is again tak­ing mon­ey out of fam­i­ly bud­gets to fat­ten the pock­ets of spe­cial inter­ests (such as Euro­pean com­pa­nies with invest­ments in the Mediter­ranean rim)”

The bur­den is not ‘shared’ at all. It is on EC cit­i­zens and Chi­nese work­ers (assum­ing that the Chi­nese in fact loose rev­enue from this point­less action).

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