EU trade chief Peter Mandelson has appealed to south east Asian nations to analyse whether or not they are being hit by increased competition from China now that global textile and clothing quotas have gone.

Mandelson addressed economic ministers from the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations during a visit to Vietnam this week, asking them if they thought the growth in Chinese exports was having an adverse effect on them.

Other issues discussed included creating economic integration within the south east Asian region.

The 25 EU nations are split over whether or not safeguard quotas should be introduced on textiles and clothing imports from China. However, its regulatory body the EC is expected to launch a probe into nine categories of Chinese textiles and clothing tomorrow, following a recommendation by Mandelson.