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Worries for textile recyclers as retailers lobby to end quotas

Textile recyclers have expressed concern over reports that clothing retailers and importers are lobbying the Government and the European Union (EU) over lifting textile quotas agreed with China.

In June, quotas were negotiated between the EU and China to ensure that the textile industry in this country and across Europe would be protected to a degree from cheap imports from China.

The British Retail Consortium, shadow trade secretary David Willetts and a number of high street stores are calling for the EU trade commission, headed by Peter Mandelson, to renege on June's quotas.

Textile Recycling Association (TRA) president Terry Ralph said: "If quotas were lifted, it would have a considerable impact on the used textiles sector.

"We lobbied hard both nationally and across Europe through the TRA and the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) for these quotas and this certainly helped to get them imposed."

Retailers are arguing that they placed orders for clothing from China more than a year ago before the quotas and that these products are waiting to be imported from China.

Shadow trade secretary David Willetts said: "The deal was misconceived. I warned of the consequences, and the evidence now shows that this is bad news for the poorest people in our country - for whom the price of their clothes matters - and for retail, which has been hit hard enough in the last year."

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