Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai has urged the US and other countries to stick to World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements and stop seeking limits for Chinese textile exports.

US textile manufacturers are intending to file safeguard petitions against China to slow textile and garment exports once quotas are abolished at the start of 2005.

Bo said at a meeting in Beijing last week: "We believe that WTO members will honour their word."

The WTO and the US International Trade Commission have both expressed worries that the Chinese market will continue to dominate the sector when limits on exports are removed.

US trade groups predict that the domestic textile industry will lose 600,000 jobs when quotas are lifted at the beginning of 2005.

Exports of apparel and shoes from China increased to over US$27 billion in 2003 - a 50 per cent increase from 1999.

Bo said the government is paying "high attention" to the issue.

Haiyun Liu, a senior official at the Chinese Embassy, said China would consider voluntary restrictions on exports "a breach of the WTO".

Liu added China was fully within its right to protest against any such limits on trade.