Germany's textile and fashion industry is sceptical about proposals by development minister Gerd Müller to establish minimum health, safety and social standards in outsourced manufacturing countries.

The minister's plans could mean garments sold in German shops and online may have to introduce a form of 'social labelling' to re-assure consumers that minimum labour conditions have been met by suppliers.

Müller has summoned industry leaders, including manufacturers and retailers, trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to meetings to consider the initiative, which has been widely criticised as unrealistic.

"I think we will have a lot of questions about this," said Hartmut Spieseke, spokesman for the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (Gesamtverband der deutschen Textil- und Modeindustrie).

"Already we have to carry a large number of labels and we are not sure what a future label could really bring that is positive - we are a little bit reserved about this," he told just-style.