The Indonesian Textile Association (API) is urging the government to halt clothing imports on predictions that about 300,000 Indonesian textile workers will lose their jobs this year.

API says that the sector needs help to deal with the operational burdens of increasing fuel costs, electricity tariffs and bank interests by stopping garment imports in the coming seasons.

API chairman Benny Soetrisno was reported by Indonesian media by saying that more of the country's producers will go bankrupt if the government doesn't help them to increase their efficiency for at least the last four months of 2005.

Soetrisno also said that the majority of garments that enter Indonesia came into the country illegally, with the exception of branded goods.

API has been quoted as saying that production costs within the textile sector have jumped 25 per cent recently and that seventy seven production plants in Java and Bali have already been forced to close this year.