European Union (EU) clothing and textile import figures show that China's Asian competitors in the sector's global export market have benefited from EU restrictions on importing certain Chinese lines.

The European Commission says that while China's overall exports decreased 8% by volume from January to July this year, those from Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia all increased, with rises ranging from 3% for Turkey to 16% for Indonesia.

For the ten 'sensitive' China products subject to reintroduced quotas, falls in Chinese export sales ranged from 38% to 70%. That said, unit prices commanded by Chinese clothing and textile exporters rose in this seven-month period - by 12%.

This, said a Commission note, "is considered as a normal result of trade liberalisation".

Meanwhile, the boom in the Chinese economy - partly as a result of this liberalisation - was helping make China "a key growth market for European textiles", with EU exports up 15% in 2005 and then 15% again for January-July of this year, albeit with sales still less than EUR1bn (US$1.27bn) annually.

Russia is also becoming an important market for EU textiles and clothing, with exports increasing 25.6% in the first seven months of this year, said Brussels. 

By Keith Nuthall.