Taiwan’s leading textile research and development and testing group, China Textile Institute (CTI), has agreed a deal to act as a collection base for firms applying for CE and Oeko Tex 100 certifications.

The agreement with the British Textile Technology Group (BTTG) will allow CTI to collect application documentation and samples from textile manufacturers seeking certification.

The Oeko Tex labelling scheme aims to ensure clothing and textile materials contain no harmful substances such as those with certain pH values, pesticides, dyes, volatile compounds and flame retardants.

More and more Taiwanese firms are applying for the certification as they look to cash in on overseas markets ahead of the countdown to the removal or global trade barriers in 2005.

"After local manufacturers get certifications of Oeko Tex 100 and CE marks, they have a better chance of exporting their products to Europe," BTTG chief executive Alfred King told the China Post.

He also told the paper that CE marketing is the "passport to Europe" as recent EU directives requires manufacturers to display CE marking on all of their products, packaging and promotional literature.