China is to implement a number of export tariffs on textile products when World Trade Organisation quotas expire at the start of 2005, according to media reports.

The decision was part of a set of measures revealed by the Commerce Ministry following repeated concerns from other manufacturing countries that China will gain a monopoly over the textiles market when quotas end.

The Ministry has expressed concern that Chinese goods will be bombarded with safeguard and anti-dumping restrictions by countries that fear China, which already has a hold on the industry due to its cheap production costs, will gain an even better competitive edge when the quotas disappear.

The ministry has not yet said which products will be affected by the tariffs or revealed the size of the tariffs, but explained that they will focus on quantity, not value.
Other measures announced include encouraging textile manufacturers to invest overseas, helping the development of domestic brands, and making it compulsory for companies to report their expansion plans.

The US is already considering imposing import tariffs after domestic textile companies voiced concern that they would suffer from an influx of overseas goods, and the European Commission last week asked China to apply caution in developing its textile industry as it may have a devastating effect on developing countries' economies.

China manufactured 17 per cent of the world's clothes and textiles in 2003, a figure that the WTO predicts will rise to over 50 per cent within three years.