China's apparel shipments to the US and Europe continued their strong growth during February, the second month after the international textiles and clothing quotas system ended.

According to China's General Administration of Customs, apparel exports to the US increased 147 per cent to $650 million compared to February 2004, while exports to Europe grew 188 per cent to $783m.

The figures are likely to spur on the US and European textile industry's calls for emergency safeguards to stop China monopolising the world market now that trade between World Trade Organisation countries has been liberalised.

The export increases were especially notable in product groups which provided China with scant US market share previously, such as cotton knit shirts (which saw a 603 per cent increase), cotton pants (which grew 548 per cent), and fibre shirts (which rose 283 per cent).

Europe saw similar category growth, the Administration said.

Turkey, Argentina and the US have already introduced safeguard legislation against China on a number of product categories.

China itself has also acted to alleviate concerns with the introduction of tariffs on certain product groups.