Up to 31,000 jobs could be lost in the Canadian apparel industry as a result of liberalised trade policies and the abolishment of World Trade Organisation quotas in 2005, a study released on Thursday revealed.

According to the Richter Consulting study, Canadian manufacturers would have to adapt to a changing industry climate to avoid the job losses.

This, the study said, would include fending off increased competition from Chinese manufacturers and off-price apparel retailers such as Wal-Mart and Winners.

"This pressure isn't going to stop," Richter Consulting managing director Vargha Moayed said.

He added that Canadian apparel manufacturers would have to get involved in such specialist areas as design, marketing, selling and distributing to remain competitive post-2005.

The study was commissioned by Canada's Apparel Human Resources Council and funded by the federal government.