The Hong Kong government is to keep its licensing requirements for shipments of cut-and-sewn garments in a bid to ensure that Hong Kong products are not affected by mainland-specific safeguard measures once quotas expire at the start of next year.

The decision is intended to prove that products sourced in Hong Kong are made there and not on the Chinese mainland, the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau said.

It added that different licensing requirements will apply for 'sensitive' and 'non-sensitive' markets, with 'sensitive' markets including the Chinese mainland.

The measures will be reviewed in late 2005.

The new textiles control system will be simple, effective and enforceable, the Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau added. 

The World Trade Organisation predicts that China will contribute to half of US apparel imports after import quotas expire in January 2005.