EU scrambles to loosen quota bottleneck
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is understood to be organising crisis talks between EU member states over quotas of Chinese textile imports. Fashion retailers in the UK and the rest of Europe are worried that a shortage of products, caused by the early filling of quotas agreed with China in June, will lead to price rises for autumn and winter lines.

Talks to alleviate the problem could be held as early as this week because Chinese goods are creating bottlenecks at European ports. The talks will be a forum to assess the scale of the problem. However, it is thought that increasing the quota will not be considered.

According to reports, Mandelson has secured approval for 9 per cent of next year's quota on jumpers made in China to be brought forward to this year, but Chinese authorities have not yet agreed.