The reaction of the Chinese government and industry to a recent World Trade Organization-brokered agreement in which Beijing agreed to end a substantial package of export subsidies, including to the textile and apparel industries, ranged from silence to the view that it is a positive, but minor, development.
The WTO said on Dec. 18 that China had agreed to end a series of subsidies for exports, including textiles and apparel, following a December 2008 complaint from the U.S. over unfair trade practices. The U.S. textile industry and many politicians have claimed for years that these government subsidies give Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage by lowering the cost of production and the price of exported goods, and that they have caused thousands of American jobs to be lost.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the Chinese government agreed to “full elimination of the numerous subsidies we identified as prohibited under WTO rules.” Since the announcement, however, China’s Ministry of Commerce has yet to comment on the decision.
Several national industry associations in Beijing rebuffed interview requests about the topic, but a few experts who did agree to talk about it said China simply took a proactive measure to avoid escalation.
“Obviously, there were some problems that needed to be solved before it turned into serious trade friction and China just took a proactive step to deal with it,” said Zhao Zhongxiu, a trade specialist at Beijing’s University of International Business & Economics.
Zhao argued that the move will not have a major impact on China’s already ailing textile and apparel industries. Rather, he said, ending government subsidies for export-bound goods will increase competitiveness within the industry.
“Brand strategies should come from the companies’ own business decisions and should not depend on government support,” said Zhao. “The industry needs to find its own way forward and improve its internal competitive practices.”
Shi Hongmei, a textiles industry analyst with Dongfang Securities, said she didn’t think the move was a major loss for China’s export industries.
“It is a small amount of money for every single industry,” said Shi. “It seems there’s not much reaction, even in the news.”
The subsidies battle began in late 2008, when the U.S. lodged a complaint with the WTO over Chinese subsidies to exported goods, saying they provided unfair trade advantages. The complaint, in part prompted by the U.S. National Council of Textile Organizations, specifically targeted a $10 billion annual value-added tax rebate program on exported goods, targeted subsidies for dozens of product categories. The subsidies were said to have come in the form of preferential loans and cash grants to brands from central, provincial and local governments.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye