Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-05-12-Speech-4-029"

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"Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that the EU is taking a reckless approach to the Chinese way of doing business, and I refuse to be swayed by the argument that textile manufacturers have had 10 years to prepare for the liberalisation currently underway. It was not until 2002, after China had joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO), that it became possible for the EU to determine what the impact of gradual liberalisation would be. Prices fell by 40%, and China captured 75% of the market in a trice. There could probably have been no clearer indication that EU trade policy should change course. Yet that is exactly what did not happen, even though the Member States have entrusted the EU with exclusive power over trade policy. At present China is ruthlessly crushing the poorest Asian and African countries, where textiles were key to survival. Dumping prices will mean that one million European textile manufacturers, including tens of thousands of women in the Czech Republic, will lose their jobs in areas where textiles are a traditional industry. It is not only the famed Chinese industriousness that makes such prices possible; they are also the result of minimal environmental and social standards, not to mention child labour, and state subsidies and China’s undervalued, state-controlled currency also play a part. We are opening up our markets, yet textile manufacturers are barred from the Chinese market. The car factories are ample proof that the principle of cooperative ownership is being violated. I believe it should be quite clear from what I have said that the WTO rules are being breached. The EU must use any economic and political instruments it has left to force China to observe the rules of fair competition, both for the sake of sustainable development on our planet and for the sake of the values that prompt us to regulate the European market, even though we know that we are increasing the cost of producing goods in Europe and lowering our competitiveness in the process. If the EU wishes to boost public confidence in integration, it must form a united front and become a strong partner for the WTO, on a par with Japan, China and the USA. The Commission, the Council and also this House should view this as a duty, rather than a challenge. I am delighted that the Commission has realised that the impact of liberalisation needs to be mitigated, but it is not enough to impose 7% quotas for one year. I would urge the EU to make major changes to its foreign policy towards China, in order to ensure that this policy is in line with the long-term goals of the EU internal market. I very much hope that we can succeed in this task."@en1

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