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Hong Kong to Continue Fight Against U.S. Textile Bill Precede HONG KONG

September 17, 1987

Undated (AP) _ Government authorities in Europe and the Far East today vowed to continue fighting the textile bill passed by the U.S. House of Representative s, and expressed optimism the measure would not be enacted.

The top trade official of the European Economic Community said the EEC will retaliate against the United States if the bill becomes law.

″I see no justification for such legislation,″ said Willy De Clercq, who is in charge of the community’s foreign trade relations.

The legislation would permit countries a 1 percent increase over 1986 levels of textile and apparel shipments to the United States. It would allow a 1 percent increase each year thereafter.

The bill would also freeze shipments of non-rubber footwear at 1986 levels.

Authorities in Taiwan and Hong Kong also objected to the legislation.

In Hong Kong, Director of Trade Michael Sze said ″there is a good chance″ the bill would not become law and noted that the House vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto by President Reagan.

Sze said Hong Kong officials and lobbyists in Washington were working to fight the measure, which still must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

″In Hong Kong, every opportunity is taken to influence U.S. visitors against the textile bill and to explain Hong Kong’s free trade stance,″ Sze said in a statement.

In Taiwan, Board of Foreign Trade spokesman Augustine Wu said, ″Americans don’t need this kind of law, and protectionism will eventually hurt American consumers.″

He said Taiwan, a major supplier of textiles, apparel and shoes to the U.S. market, already had reached an agreement in April to limit the growth of Taiwan textile exports to the United States to 0.86 percent a year.

Wu said Taiwan preferred to negotiate agreements directly with the United States rather than have its exports limited by an inflexible law.

Hong Kong textile and apparel exports to the United States in the first half of 1987 were nearly $1.8 billion, according to statistics in the British colony. About 45 percent of the colony’s textile and clothing exports last year went to the United States.

The sharpest reaction, however, was from Europe.

″Should such legislation be adopted, the community will be obligated to take retaliatory measures with regard to American products,″ De Clercq said. ″I hope that the American legislators are conscious of the danger that this represents both for the United States and for world commerce.″

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