Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) has postponed a meeting that had been due to take place yesterday (23 October) to discuss the possibility of relaxing restrictions on some clothing imports from mainland China.

The BOFT, which is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), said it needs to negotiate with local textile firms before lifting the import limits.

Opening up the Taiwanese market to foreign competition was part of a commitment Taiwan made when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Import restrictions on 309 Chinese clothing items have already been eased, although 59% must be made with fabric produced in Taiwan.

The 54 textile items now under discussion belong to this category, and include suits, coats and shirts.

Taiwan's textile associations and lawmakers, however, believe the move will lead to local job losses.