At the beginning of September, a compromise was reached on this untenable situation, namely the circulation of the textile and clothing items concerned. Although this solution has been reasonable in the circumstances, the regression of Europe`s initial attitude (and established political orientations) can be interpreted by some as a sign of political weakness. Indeed, Europe has used its rights only in a limited way under the accession agreement with China, without using the general measures it has at its disposal in the somewhat more laborious WTO process. The main result of the bilateral agreement between the EU and China on textiles was to put all stored garments into circulation, provided that half was charged on the quotas agreed for the period 2006. According to media reports, China`s trade minister has indicated that the allowance, which is expected to be charged on 2006 quotas, represents less than 2% of China`s expected textile exports this year and is therefore unlikely to have a significant impact on China`s textile exports (Just-Style.com). Products shipped before the agreed date of 11 June 2005, when new quotas were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, would escape the vote of no confidence. The agreement confirmed the annual growth rates agreed at the June consultations for EU imports from China in the relevant categories, which range from 8% to 12.5% per year for 2005, 2006 and 2007. In the categories not covered by the original agreement, the EU has committed to exercise restraint in the application of its rights under China`s WTO accession agreement. 1. The introduction of quantitative restrictions restricting international trade in certain products has been around for a long time, but no sector has been as widespread and widespread as in the textile and clothing industry. Similarly, no other sector has experienced such a rigid institutionalization of quantitative restrictions, which has had very significant and unintended consequences. Indeed, quotas in this sector have been the common denominator that has marked the development trajectory of this industry and – many of you would argue – have been the most important factor that has contributed to its global diffusion in recent decades.
This chapter follows developments from the beginning of quantitative restrictions in the textile and clothing sector to its institutionalization, which led to the multifibre agreement, and finally the expiration of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on textiles and clothing. Changes in trade under the quota system and changes in quotas underline the impact of these trade restrictions and, once again, some countries are beginning to take steps to counter the risk of increased imports.